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Freeman v. Medstar Health, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 8, 2015

DANIELLE FREEMAN, et al., Plaintiffs
v.
MEDSTAR HEALTH INC., et al., Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For DANIELLE FREEMAN, LISA BRASWELL, MARGARET BROWN, THOMAS CURTIS, DOROTHY EGGLESTON, DIANNE FULLERTON, MELISSA GAYLE, CHERRY GRAZIOSI, SHIRLEY JAMES, KEITH LAI, RAINA MCCRAY, DONNA ROWAN, LORRAINE TYERYAR, BETTYE TEAL, CATHLEEN KELLER, JANICE HARRIS, DONET DURRANT, LINDA HAGANS, LARRY STREET, Plaintiffs: David J. Cohen, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, KOLMAN ELY, PC, Penndel, PA; Jason S. Rathod, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nicholas A Migliaccio, WHITFIELD BRYSON & MASON LLP, Washington, DC.

For BRIDGET CARROLL, CYNTHIA SCOTT, Plaintiffs: Nicholas A Migliaccio, LEAD ATTORNEY, WHITFIELD BRYSON & MASON LLP, Washington, DC.

For MEDSTAR HEALTH INC., MEDSTAR WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER, MEDSTAR FRANKLIN SQUARE MEDICAL CENTER, MEDSTAR GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, MEDSTAR HARBOR HOSPITAL, MEDSTAR ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL, MEDSTAR UNION MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, Defendants: Joshua B. Waxman, LITTLER MENDELSON, LEAD ATTORNEY; Angelo Spinola, Margaret T. Blackwood, PRO HAC VICE, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., Atlanta, GA; Sarah Elizabeth Henninger, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge.

Eighteen individual plaintiffs bring this putative class and collective action against MedStar Health, Inc. (" MedStar" ) and against six MedStar hospitals. The hospital defendants are two District of Columbia hospitals--Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital--and four Maryland hospitals--Franklin Square Hospital, Harbor Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, and Union Memorial Hospital. Essentially, Plaintiffs claim that they were not paid for work that they conducted during their meal breaks. All plaintiffs bring Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ) overtime and minimum wage claims on their own behalf and on behalf of putative collectives of employees (Count I). The plaintiffs employed at the D.C. hospitals bring overtime and minimum wage

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claims pursuant to the D.C. Minimum Wage Act (Count II) on their own behalf and on behalf of putative collectives of employees. The plaintiffs employed at the Maryland hospitals bring overtime and minimum wage claims pursuant to the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (Count III) and claims pursuant to the Maryland Wage Payment Collection Law (Count IV) on their own behalf and on behalf of putative classes of employees. Before the Court are Defendants' [24] Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint and Defendants' [31] Motion to Sever and Drop Plaintiffs for Misjoinder. Upon consideration of the pleadings,[1] the relevant legal authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART Defendants' [24] Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint and DENIES Defendants' [31] Motion to Sever and Drop Plaintiffs for Misjoinder. Insofar as the Amended Complaint purports to state claims by individual plaintiffs against individual hospitals that they did not identify as their employers, the Court dismisses those claims, as explained further below; in all other respects, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss. Having considered all of Defendants' remaining arguments in favor of dismissing this case, the Court concludes that each is without merit. Finally, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Defendants' [31] Motion to Sever.

I. BACKGROUND

For the purposes of the motions before the Court, the Court accepts as true the well-pleaded allegations in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. The Court does " not accept as true, however, the plaintiff's legal conclusions or inferences that are unsupported by the facts alleged." Ralls Corp. v. Comm. on Foreign Inv. in U.S., 758 F.3d 296, 315, 411 U.S.App.D.C. 105 (D.C. Cir. 2014). Given the nature of the motions before the Court, the Court reserves a presentation of relevant facts for the discussion of the individual issues below.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a complaint on the grounds that it " fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). " [A] complaint [does not] suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations that, if accepted as true, " state

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a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. " A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider " the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint," or " documents upon which the plaintiff's complaint necessarily relies even if the document is produced not by the plaintiff in the complaint but by the defendant in a motion to ...


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