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Slaughter v. Alpha Drugs, LLC

United States District Court, District of Columbia

November 30, 2012

Leigh Adams SLAUGHTER, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
ALPHA DRUGS, LLC, et al., Defendants/Counterclaimants.

Page 51

Philip B. Zipin, John Joseph McDonough, Zipin Law Firm, LLC, Silver Spring, MD, for Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant.

Mark W. Schweitzer, Meredith R. Philipp, McNamee, Hosea, Jernigan, Kim, Greenan & Walker, P.A., Greenbelt, MD, for Defendants/Counterclaimants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Leigh Adam Slaughter's [33] Motion to Dismiss Defendant Alpha Drugs, LLC's Counterclaim. Slaughter filed suit against her former employer Defendant Alpha Drugs, LLC (" Alpha Drugs" ) and Defendant Panagiotis Metaxotos, the President and owner of Alpha Drugs, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and various state laws on the basis of the Defendants' purported failure to pay Slaughter for her services between August 1, 2011 and October 18, 2011. Compl., ECF No. [1], ¶¶ 5-7. In their Amended Answer, the Defendants asserted two counterclaims against Slaughter: (1) breach of contract regarding unpaid loans purportedly made by Defendant Metaxotos to Slaughter; and (2) fraud based on Slaughter's alleged misrepresentations regarding her qualifications as an attorney. Am. Answer, ECF No. [27], ¶¶ 4-16. Slaughter subsequently moved to dismiss the counterclaim as to Alpha Drugs on the grounds the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the counterclaim. Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. [33], at 1.[1] Upon consideration

Page 52

of the pleadings and the record as a whole, Plaintiff's [33] Motion to Dismiss Defendant Alpha Drugs, LLC's Counterclaim is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges the Defendants employed her between April 21, 2008 and October 18, 2011, to serve a variety of roles, including supervising HIV/AIDS support groups, interfacing with pharmaceutical company representatives, and " marketing Alpha [Drugs] to State and Local officials." Compl. ¶¶ 5-6. Plaintiff claims that although she had a salary of approximately $202,000 and was usually paid semi-monthly, she received no salary between August 1, 2011, and October 18, 2011, in violation of federal and local wage and labor laws. Id. at ¶¶ 7-21.

In its counterclaim, Defendant Alpha Drugs alleges that the Plaintiff fraudulently misrepresented her qualifications when she was hired as general counsel for the company. Am. Answer ¶ 11. Specifically, Alpha Drugs claims that the Plaintiff represented that she previously worked as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice and received a salary in excess of $180,000 (including " benchmark bonuses" ). Id. at ¶¶ 11-12. Alpha Drugs further alleges that the Plaintiff indicated she " would be general counsel for Alpha Drugs and outside counsel would not be retained for work within the ordinary course of business." Id. at ¶ 13. Relying on these statements, Alpha Drugs hired the Plaintiff and paid her a salary in excess of $200,000. Id. at ¶ 13. Alpha Drugs contend that the Plaintiff in fact never worked for the Department of Justice and often hired outside counsel to perform legal work " that was within her scope of duties to be performed" for Alpha Drugs, thus causing injury to the company. Id. at ¶ 14.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

" Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction" and can adjudicate only those cases entrusted to them by the Constitution or an Act of Congress. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994). The Court begins with the presumption that it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over a case. Id. at 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673. In order to survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Moms Against Mercury v. FDA, 483 F.3d 824, 828 (D.C.Cir.2007). " At the motion to dismiss stage, counseled complaints, as well as pro se complaints, are to be construed with sufficient liberality to afford all possible inferences favorable to the pleader on allegations of fact." Settles v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 429 F.3d 1098, 1106 (D.C.Cir.2005). " Although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint when reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)," the factual allegations in the complaint " will bear closer scrutiny in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion than in resolving a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim." Wright v. Foreign Serv. Grievance Bd., 503 F.Supp.2d 163, 170 (D.D.C.2007) (internal citations omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

For the most part, the parties' pleadings are but two ships passing in the night. The Plaintiff's motion focuses on the Court's subject matter jurisdiction— or the lack thereof— under 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Alpha Drugs' opposition omits any reference to Section 1367, focusing instead on the definition of " compulsory ...


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