Second Circuit Rejects “Threadbare” Complaint Asserting Violation of Fair Labor Standards Act For Non-Payment Of Overtime
Date: August 5th, 2013 Written by Stanley A. Camhi
On August 5, 2013, the Second Circuit in DeJesus v HF Management Sources, LLC affirmed the dismissal of a complaint brought by an employee pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the "FLSA”) in which she alleged that she was not paid overtime during "some or all weeks” in which she worked more than 40 hours. The Court held that she had not pled a "plausible” FLSA overtime claim.
The FLSA provides that non-exempt employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a given week are entitled to be paid time and a half for the overtime hours worked. Despite the liberal pleading standard utilized under the Federal rules, the Court nevertheless ruled that the employee’s complaint failed to state a claim. Referring to its prior decision in Lundy v. Catholic Health Systems of Long Island, the Court stated that "in order to state a plausible FLSA overtime claim, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given work week as well as some uncompensated time in excess of the 40 hours.”
In DeJesus, the Court noted that the plaintiff did not provide any factual specificity regarding her claim. For example, she did not provide any approximation or estimate of her hours worked. In essence, the Court said her complaint did no more than paraphrase the statute. Since the complaint contained no particular facts it failed to raise a plausible inference of an overtime violation.
Wage and hour lawsuits for alleged violation of the FLSA are a burgeoning issue for employers. Complaints are often nothing more than threadbare recitations which provide virtually no factual detail regarding the basis for the claim. The Second Circuit’s decision underscores that cookie-cutter complaints containing nothing more than conclusory statements will not survive a motion to dismiss.
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