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Robinson v. CAS 4000 Kansas LLC

United States District Court, District Circuit

December 16, 2013

ALEXANDER N. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAS 4000 KANSAS LLC et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge

Granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Complaint; and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

I. INTRODUCTION

This action arises out of Plaintiff’s four-count complaint against Defendants, CAS 4000 Kansas LLC (“CAS 4000”) and Change All Souls Development Inc. (“CASDI”). In Counts I and II, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act (“DCMWA”), respectively, for failing to pay Plaintiff the minimum wage and overtime wages. In Counts III and IV, Plaintiff claims wrongful eviction and breach of contract under D.C. law. Defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings. See generally Defs.’ Mot. J. Pleadings, ECF No. 17. Plaintiff has moved to amend his complaint. See generally Pl.’s Mot. Am. Compl., ECF No. 20.[1] For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. However, because Plaintiff’s amended complaint does not change most of the claims from his original complaint, the Court will grant Defendants judgment on the pleadings on Plaintiff’s claims for Wrongful Eviction and Breach of Contract.

II. MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT

Plaintiff has moved to amend his complaint in order to add a defendant and plead additional facts supporting his theory under the FLSA that the various entities he sues operated as a “single enterprise employer.” Pl.’s Mot. Am. Compl., ECF No. 20. Defendants have opposed such amendment. See Defs.’ Opp’n Mot. Am. Compl., ECF No. 22. For the reasons set forth below, leave to amend is granted and the amended complaint Plaintiff has lodged on the docket, see Notice, ECF No. 24, is deemed the operative complaint in this action.

Under Rule 15(a), if a plaintiff seeks leave to amend the complaint more than 21 days after a responsive pleading has been filed, he must seek consent from the defendants or leave from the Court. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a); Virtue v. Int’l Bhd. of Teamsters Ret. & Family Prot. Plan, 893 F.Supp.2d 46, 47–48 (D.D.C. 2012). Leave to amend “should [be] freely give[n] . . . when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). This Circuit has held that “it is an abuse of discretion to deny leave to amend unless there is sufficient reason . . . .” Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (per curiam). To that end, “the non-movant generally carries the burden in persuading the court to deny leave to amend.” Nwachukwu v. Karl, 222 F.R.D. 208, 211 (D.D.C. 2004). In deciding whether to allow a party to amend a complaint, courts may consider “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

Defendants oppose amendment on the bases that the motion is untimely, amendment is not in the interests of justice, amendment will result in delay, and amendment would be futile. None of these arguments carry the day.

Jurisdiction in this Court is based on federal question jurisdiction due to the FLSA claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. All other claims are state law claims over which Plaintiff requests that this Court exercise supplemental jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367. As set forth below, Plaintiff presses his FLSA claims based on an enterprise theory. As also set forth below, in order to proceed under such theory, Plaintiff must establish that his employer, either individually or as a “single enterprise employer, ” surpasses a dollar amount threshold of “annual gross volume of sales made or business done over $500, 000.” See 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1)(A). If Plaintiff fails to meet this threshold, his FLSA claim will fail and this Court would decline supplemental jurisdiction over his state law claims. Thus, this Court believes that justice requires that Plaintiff be given an adequate opportunity to prove this Court’s federal jurisdiction. Plaintiff has raised sufficient evidence of the Defendant entities’ intertwined relationships to justify being given a chance to prove his claims. And, because Plaintiff moved to amend his complaint within three months of filing his original complaint, although technically untimely under the original scheduling order, such amendment will not result in unreasonable delay and will not prejudice defendants.[2]

Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint. As set forth below, amendment of the complaint will moot some of Defendants’ arguments concerning the FLSA claims (and the parallel D.C. Minimum Wage Act claims). However, because the amended complaint does not appear to change many of Plaintiff’s other claims, the Court will address those arguments contained in Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings that remain applicable after amendment.

III. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

Defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings on all four counts of Plaintiff’s complaint. See generally Defs.’ Mot. J. Pleadings, ECF No. 17. Because some of these Counts are affected by the amendment of Plaintiff’s complaint, each count is addressed separately.

A. FLSA (Count I)

Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings of Plaintiff’s FLSA claims based on four arguments: (1) CAS 4000 and CASDI are not joint employers; (2) these entities, either jointly or individually, are not an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce; (3) these entities, either jointly or individually, do not have an annual gross volume of sales greater than ...


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