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Radtke v. Caschetta

July 17, 2007

KATHY RADTKE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MARIA CASCHETTA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiffs Kathy Radtke and Carmen Cunningham bring this action against defendants Maria Caschetta, Lifecare Management Partners ("Lifecare"), and Advanta Medical Solutions, LLC ("Advanta"), alleging breach of contract and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). In a May 2007 opinion and order, the Court (1) granted defendants' motion to sever Radtke's claims from Cunningham's claims; (2) denied defendants' motions for a more definite statement and to compel arbitration; (3) found that it lacked personal jurisdiction over defendants for Radtke's claims; and (4) requested information from the parties regarding the proper remedy for defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. In response, plaintiffs have filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court's decision on severance and personal jurisdiction. Plaintiffs supplemented their motion with additional affidavits that present facts not previously before the Court. Upon consideration of the motion, the response and reply thereto, the applicable law, and the entire record, the Court determines that the new facts presented by plaintiffs warrant reconsideration. Therefore, for the reasons stated herein, plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration is GRANTED, the Court's May 2007 order is VACATED with regard to defendants' motion to sever, defendants' motion to sever is DENIED, and defendants' motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue are DENIED.

BACKGROUND

The Court described the facts alleged in plaintiffs' complaint in its May 2007 opinion and need not repeat them all here. See Radtke v. Caschetta, No. 06-2031, 2007 WL 1438488, at *1 (D.D.C. May 15, 2007). In support of their contract and FLSA claims, plaintiffs allege that they were not properly paid by defendants, their employers, for overtime, working on holidays, and travel expenses. Included with their motion for reconsideration are supplemental affidavits from each of the plaintiffs. Radtke states in her affidavit that she was interviewed for a job by defendant Caschetta and was offered a choice of working at either Advanta or Lifecare as a medical records coder. Aff. of Kathy Radtke, Pls.' Ex. 3, ¶ 2. She chose to work at Advanta. Id. ¶ 3. In that position, she was directed by Caschetta to report to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to provide medical record coding services "on the Walter Reed contract." Id. ¶ 4.

Cunningham states in her affidavit that she was interviewed for a job by Caschetta, and that she was hired by Caschetta, Advanta, and Lifecare as a medical records coder. Aff. of Carmen Cunningham, Pls.' Ex. 4, ¶¶ 2-3. Cunningham signed a written employment agreement with Advanta and received paychecks and health insurance through Lifecare. Id. ¶¶ 4-5. Cunningham worked on-site at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center ("Walter Reed") in Washington, D.C. Compl. ¶ 19. Caschetta directed Cunningham's work, and Caschetta was the only managerial presence at the job site, "supervising all of the employees, including those who understood that they worked for Lifecare and those who understood that they worked for Advanta." Cunningham Aff., ¶ 6. Defendants have not submitted any evidence disputing these facts.

Following the Court's order in May, defendants filed an answer responding to Cunningham's claims. Of note in defendants' answer is the inclusion of a counterclaim against Cunningham, alleging that she violated a non-compete agreement. This non-compete agreement restricted Cunningham's future work with both Lifecare and Advanta's clients. Defs.' Am. Answer at 4. In response to the Court's order, defendants claim that the proper forum for Radtke's claims is the Eastern District of Virginia.

ANALYSIS

As an initial matter, the parties dispute the proper standard for evaluating plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration. Defendants contend that plaintiffs must satisfy the standard in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Plaintiffs contend that their motion was filed within 10 days, and thus can be considered under Rule 59(e). Neither party is correct. A district court may revise its own interlocutory decisions "at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b); Reed v. Islamic Republic of Iran, __ F.R.D. __, 2007 WL 1241868, at *3 (D.D.C. 2007). The standard of review for interlocutory decisions differs from the standards applied to final judgments under Rules 59(e) and 60(b). Reed, 2007 WL 1241868, at *3. Unlike the stricter standards under those rules, reconsideration of an interlocutory decision is available under the more flexible standard, "as justice requires." Id.; see Cobell v. Norton, 224 F.R.D. 266, 272 (D.D.C. 2004) (indicating that reconsideration is available if the parties proffer supplemental evidence).

I. Personal Jurisdiction

Defendants move to dismiss Radtke's claims for lack of personal jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2) and improper venue under Rule 12(b)(3). To determine whether a court has jurisdiction over a defendant, it must first "determine whether jurisdiction over a party is proper under the applicable local long-arm statute and whether it accords with the demands of due process." United States v. Ferrara, 54 F.3d 825, 828 (D.C. Cir. 1995). A court may find personal jurisdiction over a defendant through either general or specific jurisdiction. Savage v. Bioport, Inc., 460 F. Supp. 2d 55, 58 (D.D.C. 2006). Using specific jurisdiction, "[i]f a defendant does not reside within or maintain a principal place of business in the District of Columbia, then the District's long-arm statute, D.C. Code § 13-423, provides the only basis in which a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendant." Id. at 60.

Plaintiffs contend that jurisdiction is proper under section 13-423, which states, in relevant part:

(a) A District of Columbia court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a claim for relief arising from the person's

(1) transacting any business in the District of Columbia;

(2) contracting to supply services in the District of ...


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