United States District Court, D. Columbia
LOUIS P. CANNON, et al., Plaintiffs,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant
For LOUIS P. CANNON, ERIC WESTBROOK GAINEY, GERALD G. NEILL, SHEILA M. FORD-HAYNES, HARRY LOUIS WEEKS, JR., STEPHEN R. WATKINS, Plaintiffs: Matthew August LeFande, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF MATTHEW AUGUST LEFANDE, Arlington, VA.
For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Defendant: Andrew J. Saindon, D.C. OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC; Bradford Collins Patrick, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Public Interest Division, Washington, DC.
ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs represent a class of retired District of Columbia police officers subsequently rehired by the District for different jobs. Following their retirements, plaintiffs received pension benefits from the District of Columbia Police Officers and Firefighters' Retirement Plan (" PFRP" ). After being rehired, they continued to receive these benefits in addition to their new salaries (a practice commonly referred to as " double dipping" ). In early 2012, pursuant to D.C. Code§ 5-723(e), the District began reducing plaintiffs' salaries by the amounts they received from their PFRP pensions. Plaintiffs sued for injunctive relief and damages. This Court denied plaintiffs' motions for injunctive relief and dismissed all of plaintiffs' constitutional and federal claims. The Court remanded plaintiffs' remaining D.C. law claims to Superior Court. See Cannon v. District of Columbia, 873 F.Supp.2d 272, 287-88 (D.D.C. 2012). On appeal, the Circuit affirmed the dismissal of all of plaintiffs' federal claims except the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ) claim brought by three particular class plaintiffs. On this claim, the Court of Appeals directed that summary judgment be entered for plaintiffs and remanded to this Court for the determination of damages. Because a federal claim remained, the Court of Appeals also vacated the decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the D.C. law claims. See Cannon v. District of Columbia, 717 F.3d 200, 206-09, 405 U.S.App.D.C. 141 (D.C. Cir. 2013).
Upon remand, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint adding an additional claim for relief under the Public Tax Act, 4 U.S.C. § 111(a). Soon thereafter, defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims except the FLSA claim, as well as a notice
of calculation of FLSA damages. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' constitutional claims (Counts I, III, and X-XI) and Public Tax Act claim (Count V) and will remand plaintiffs' D.C law claims (Counts IV, VI-IX, and XII-XV) to Superior Court. The Court will also enter summary judgment for plaintiffs Ford-Hayes, Neill, and Weeks on liability for their FLSA claim (Count II) and set a briefing schedule for the determination of back pay and damages.
The material facts relevant to this case were described in detail in the Court's prior opinion and the opinion of the Court of Appeals. Therefore, an abbreviated version will suffice. Plaintiffs were police officers hired by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (" MPD" ) prior to September 30, 1987 that participated in the District of Columbia Police Officers' and Firefighters' Retirement Plan. Cannon, 873 F.Supp.2d at 275. Under federal law, the PFRP is jointly administered by the United States and the District of Columbia. See District of Columbia Retirement Board, District of Columbia Police Officers and Firefighters' Retirement Plan, Summary Plan Description, available at http://dcrb.dc.gov/sites/default /files/dc/sites/dcrb/ publication/attachments/SPD_PoliceFirePlan2012Final.pdf, at 1-2, 73 (last visited January 6, 2014) (" Summary Plan" ).The United States Treasury Department is responsible for all benefits attributable to services performed by plaintiffs prior to July 1, 1997. The D.C. Retirement Board (" DCRB" ) is responsible for benefits attributable to services performed after that date. Id. Upon retirement, plaintiffs began receiving benefits from their PFRP pensions.
Beginning in 2004, plaintiffs were rehired by the District of Columbia Department of General Services (" DGS" ). Cannon, 873 F.Supp.2d at 275. Upon returning to work for the District, plaintiffs received both their pension benefits and their full salaries simultaneously. Id. In the fall of 2011, however, the District informed plaintiffs that it had mistakenly failed to enforce D.C. Code § 5-723(e), a provision which expressly forbids this sort of double-dipping, and it would soon begin reducing their DGS salaries accordingly  Id. at 276.
On January 25, 2012, the District began reducing plaintiffs' paychecks by the amount they received from their PFRP pensions. In response, plaintiffs immediately filed for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin the offset. Plaintiffs also sued for damages under the United States Constitution, federal law, and D.C. law. At a hearing on January 31, 2012, plaintiffs' motion for injunctive relief was denied. Id. On July 6, 2012, this Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting defendant's
motion to dismiss all of plaintiffs' federal and constitutional claims. See id. at 287. With the absence of federal claims in the case, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' D.C. law claims and remanded them to Superior Court. Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)). The Court reasoned that " [r]emand to Superior Court [wa]s particularly appropriate . . . because plaintiffs' remaining claims raise novel and complex issue[s] of [District] law." Id. at 288 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(1)).
On appeal, the D.C. Circuit affirmed this Court's dismissal of all of plaintiffs' constitutional claims. Cannon, 717 F.3d at 206 (" The district court found the plaintiffs' constitutional claims meritless, and we agree." ); see also id. at 208 (" We affirm the district court's judgment on the constitutional claims . . . ." ). However, the Court of Appeals reversed this Court's dismissal of the FLSA claim brought by three plaintiffs--Sheila Ford-Haynes, Gerald Neill, and Harry Weeks. While this Court had held that these plaintiffs' pension benefits constituted " compensation" for purposes of the minimum wage to which they were entitled under the FLSA, see Cannon, 873 F.Supp.2d at 279, the Court of Appeals held that this was " not a reasonable reading of the D.C. Code Section 5-723(e) [which] provides no authority for the District to claim that pension payments may be 'included as salary' . . ." Cannon, 717 F.3d at 205. The Court of Appeals " direct[ed] that summary judgment be entered for th[ese] three plaintiffs on that claim" and remanded as to " the extent of the District's FLSA liability" because " the parties ha[d] not briefed the issues of back pay and liquidated damages" under 29 U.S.C. § 216. Id. at 206. " Because the district court's decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' D.C. law claims was premised on the dismissal of all federal claims from this case," the Court of Appeals also vacated " that part of the district court's order dismissing the D.C. law claims and remand[ed] for further proceedings." Id. at 208-09.
On remand, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging fifteen counts (including six federal law counts and nine D.C. law counts). (Second Amend. Compl., Sept. 24, 2013 [ECF No. 50].) Though most of plaintiffs' claims were previously pled, this Complaint introduced one additional federal claim under the Public Tax Act (Count V). On October 18, defendant filed a motion to dismiss (Def. the District of Columbia's Mot. to Dismiss [ECF No. 51] (" Mot." )) and a notice of calculation of back pay (Notice of Def.'s Calculation of FLSA Back Pay [ECF No. 52] (" Notice" )). Plaintiffs filed an opposition (Opp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Nov. 8, 2013 [ECF No. 53]) in which they did not respond to defendant's calculation of back pay. Defendant then filed a reply (District of Columbia's Reply, Nov. 22, 2013 [ECF No. 54] (" Reply" )) in which it argued that its FLSA back pay calculations were conceded. This Court instead issued an Order to Show Cause to plaintiffs to explain why it " should not enter a judgment in the amount calculated by defendants in their notice." (Order to Show Cause, Dec. 11, 2013 [ECF No. 55], at 1) In response, plaintiffs did not respond directly to defendant's damage calculations, but instead, they challenged the propriety of calculating the FLSA damages at this stage in the litigation. (Response to the Court's Order of Dec. 11, 2013, Dec. 19, 2013 [ECF No. 56] (" Response" ).)
I. LEGAL STANDARD
When ruling on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), ...