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Iraheta v. Magic Meals, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Columbia

August 23, 2016

JOSE ULISES ESCOBAR IRAHETA, Plaintiff,
v.
MAGIC MEALS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge.

         Jose Ulises Escobar Iraheta was employed as an hourly worker by Defendants from 1999 to 2015. He seeks unpaid minimum and overtime wages under federal and D.C. law. As explained below, the D.C. law claims will be dismissed.

         I. FACTS

         Jessie Yan and Vanessa Lim own and operate Magic Meals, Inc.[1] Magic Meals does business as Nooshi, a restaurant located at 1120 19th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20039. Magic Meals previously did business as Oodles Noodles at the same location. Defendants employed Mr. Escobar Iraheta as a busboy from July 1, 1999 through July 11, 2015. 2d Am. Compl. [Dkt. 10] at ¶¶ 13, 16, 22. He did not receive tips. Id. ¶ 15. Mr. Escobar Iraheta alleges that while he worked 63.5 hours each week, which included 23.5 hours of overtime, Defendants never paid him the one and one half times minimum wage he was owed for the overtime hours. Id. ¶¶ 16-18, 23, 26. Further, he alleges that Defendants paid him less per hour than what was required under federal and D.C. minimum wage laws. Id. ¶¶ 22, 24-25. Mr. Escobar Iraheta filed this suit on July 14, 2015, and on October 28, 2015, he filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging: Count I, failure to pay minimum and overtime wages under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.; Count II, failure to pay minimum and overtime wages under the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, D.C. Code § 32-1001 et seq.; and Count III, failure to pay wages under the D.C. Wage Payment Act, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et seq.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the adequacy of a complaint on its face. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual information, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A court must assume the truth of all well-pleaded factual allegations and construe reasonable inferences from those allegations in favor of the plaintiff. Sissel v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., 760 F.3d 1, 4 (D.C. Cir. 2014). A court need not accept inferences drawn by a plaintiff if such inferences are not supported by the facts set out in the complaint. Kowal v. MCI Commc’ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Further, a court does not need to accept as true legal conclusions set forth in a complaint. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a court may consider the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint as exhibits or incorporated by reference, and matters about which the court may take judicial notice. Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. v. Chao, 508 F.3d 1052, 1059 (D.C. Cir. 2007).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. D.C. Wage Payment Act

         Defendants move to dismiss Count III, the claim under the D.C. Wage Payment Act, D.C. Code § 32-1301 et seq., because the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, D.C. Code § 32-1001 et seq., provides the exclusive remedy for failure to pay minimum and overtime wages. The D.C. Minimum Wage Act governs what an employer must pay, whereas D.C. Wage Payment Act governs when an employer must pay. The D.C. Wage Payment Act governs the timing of wage payments by providing that an employer “shall pay all wages earned to his employees at least twice during each calendar month, on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer” and that “not more than 10 working days may elapse” between the designated pay periods. D.C. Code § 32-1302. The Wage Payment Act also specifies when wages must be paid to an employee who resigns, is discharged, or is suspended. Id. § 32-1303. The Wage Payment Act does not apply to disputes over the amount of wages due to an employee, because § 32-1304 expressly provides that when there is a dispute over the amount owed, the employer is required only to pay the undisputed amount to comply with the Act. Fudali v. Pivotal Corp., 310 F.Supp.2d 22, 27 (D.D.C. 2004).

         Mr. Escobar Iraheta makes no complaint regarding when he was paid by Defendants. His complaint is about the amount he was paid. He complains that he did not receive the mandated minimum wage and he did not receive overtime wages. Accordingly, the D.C. Wage Payment Act claim (Count III) will be dismissed.

         B. D.C. Minimum Wage Act

         Defendants also move to partially dismiss Count II, Mr. Escobar Iraheta’s claim under the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, asserting that claims for minimum and overtime wages more than three years before the complaint was filed are barred by the statute of limitations.

         Because the Complaint was filed on July 14, 2015, the three year statute of limitations bars Mr. Escobar Iraheta’s wage claims for pay periods prior to July 14, 2012.

         The D.C. Code provides for a three year statute of limitation for suits under the Minimum Wage Act filed after February ...


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