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Acosta v. Quality Granite And Cabinetry, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

October 2, 2018

R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor
v.
Quality Granite and Cabinetry, LLC and Christopher Bouchard

          Robert M. Fojo, Esq.

          James Glickman, Esq.

          ORDER

          Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge

         The Secretary of Labor filed this Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) lawsuit against Quality Granite and Cabinetry, LLC, and its owner, Christopher Bouchard, alleging violations of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime, and record keeping provisions. Quality Granite and Bouchard now move to dismiss the Secretary's allegations of minimum wage and overtime violations because they lack sufficient specificity to state a plausible claim for relief. The Secretary opposes dismissal.

         Standard of Review

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and resolves all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Ocasio-Hernández v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). The court disregards conclusory allegations that simply parrot the applicable legal standard. Manning v. Boston Med. Ctr. Corp., 725 F.3d 34, 43 (1st Cir. 2013). To determine whether a complaint survives a motion to dismiss, the court should use its “judicial experience and common sense, ” but should also avoid disregarding a factual allegation merely because actual proof of the alleged facts is improbable. Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)).

         The ultimate question before the court is whether the facts alleged in the complaint render the plaintiff's entitlement to relief plausible. Id. Rule 8 does not require a plaintiff to plead specific or detailed allegations beyond what is required to state a plausible claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         Background

         Quality Granite is a granite fabricator and installation contractor located in Concord, New Hampshire. The Secretary asserts that Quality Granite and Bouchard, Quality Granite's owner, violated the FLSA's minimum wage and overtime provisions, 29 U.S.C. §§ 206 (minimum wage), and 207 (overtime compensation). In addition, the Secretary brings a claim for failure to make and keep records adequately showing Quality Granite's employees' wages and hours, in violation of 29 U.S.C.§ 211(c).[1]

         According to the Secretary, Quality Granite and Bouchard failed to pay two unnamed employees the minimum wage “[d]uring two specific workweeks after February 1, 2016 . . . .” (Doc. 12 at 3). Without adequate records from Quality Granite showing the employees' hours for those specific weeks, the Secretary calculated the average No. of hours worked by the two employees during the workweeks from February 1, 2016, to August 4, 2017.

         One employee, an “installer, ” “worked an average of 51.25 hours during the workweek ending February 3, 2017, and several other weeks.” (Doc. 12 at 3). Quality Granite paid the installer $350.00 for his work during the workweek ending February 3, 2017. The installer's rate of pay for that workweek when measured against the average No. of hours he worked per week between February 1, 2016, and August 4, 2017, was $6.83 per hour, which is below the applicable minimum wage set by 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1)(C).

         Similarly, the Secretary found that another employee, a “fabricator, ” “worked an average of 46.5 hours” per week, but during the week ending March 25, 2016, had not been paid at all.

         The Secretary further alleges that Quality Granite and Bouchard violated the FLSA by failing to pay twenty-three employees premium pay for overtime work between February 1, 2016, and August 4, 2017. For his overtime violation claim, the Secretary calculated the average hours worked by employees in certain job categories (e.g., installer, fabricator, polisher, and office worker) and measured those weekly averages against the actual amount paid to each identified employee per week. In his complaint, the Secretary asserts that “in many weeks” Quality Granite failed to compensate its employees for overtime, but also identifies ...


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