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Blount v. United States Sec. Assocs.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 18, 2013

ANGELA BLOUNT, et al., for themselves and those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
U.S. SECURITY ASSOCIATES, et al., Defendants

For ANGELA BLOUNT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, BRIAN JOHNSON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, VERRANDA MIDDLETON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, REGINA PIXLEY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs: Arlus Jeremiah Stephens, Mark Hanna, Renee M. Gerni, LEAD ATTORNEYS, MURPHY ANDERSON, PLLC, Washington, DC.

For U.S. SECURITY ASSOCIATES, INC., Defendant: Garen E. Dodge, Leslie A. Stout-Tabackman, Paul DeCamp, LEAD ATTORNEYS, JACKSON LEWIS LLP, Reston, VA.

For WATKINS SECURITY AGENCY OF DC, INC., Defendant: Laura L. Rubenstein, Russell B. Berger, LEAD ATTORNEYS, OFFIT KURMAN, PA, Baltimore, MD.

OPINION

Page 192

JOHN D. BATES, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiffs filed this action on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated against defendants U.S. Security Associates, Inc. (" U.S. Security" ), Watkins Security Agency of DC, Inc. (" Watkins DC" ), and Watkins Security Agency, Inc. (" Watkins Security Agency" ). Plaintiffs are current and former employees of defendants who worked as security guards in District of Columbia public schools. They allege that defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § § 201 et seq., the D.C. Minimum Wage Revision Act, D.C. Code § § 32-1001 et seq., and the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law, D.C. Code § § 32-1301 et seq., by not paying them for work they performed or had to be ready to perform during meal breaks. Before the Court is [9] a motion to dismiss filed by defendants Watkins DC and Watkins Security Agency (" the Watkins Defendants" ). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.

BACKGROUND

District of Columbia public schools are guarded by security guards employed by private contractors. See Compl. [ECF 1] ¶ 18. Defendants are contractors that provide

Page 193

security services to District of Columbia elementary and middle schools pursuant a single contract. See id. ¶ 19. U.S. Security is the prime contractor and is responsible for guarding 55% of the schools, and Watkins DC is the subcontractor and is responsible for guarding the other 45%. See id. ¶ 20. According to plaintiffs, Watkins DC and Watkins Security Agency, which is based in Maryland, " are alter egos and/or joint employers of individuals working as security guards in the DC Schools." Id. ¶ ¶ 10-11. Plaintiffs allege, for example, that security guards employed by Watkins DC receive paychecks from Watkins Security Agency. Id.

Plaintiffs worked as security guards for either U.S. Security or the Watkins Defendants. See id. ¶ ¶ 21-23. Hence, plaintiffs are divided into two groups: the U.S. Security Plaintiffs, who bring claims against U.S. Security (Counts I, II, and III), and the Watkins Plaintiffs, who bring claims against the Watkins Defendants (Counts IV, V, and VI). See id. ¶ ¶ 21-22, 45-105. Both sets of plaintiffs had the same job responsibilities, performed the same work, and worked under the same terms and conditions of employment. See id. ¶ 23. In all ways relevant to plaintiffs' claims here, defendants' employment and payroll policies were identical. See id. ¶ ¶ 23, 27-28.

Plaintiffs filed this action based on defendants' shared policy of deducting 30 minutes of pay per shift for " meal breaks," even though plaintiffs had to remain on school grounds, be " at the ready," and perform any necessary work during their purported meal breaks. See id. ¶ ¶ 24-28. The Watkins Defendants now move to dismiss or, alternatively, to sever Counts IV, V, and VI, arguing that they have been ...


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