United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
C. CACHERIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant American Mechanical
Services of Maryland, LLC (“AMS”) and Defendant
Dave Schellhardt (“Schellhardt”) (collectively,
the “Defendants”) omnibus motion to dismiss, for
summary judgment, or, in the alternative, for a more definite
statement. [Dkt. 3.] For the reasons that follow, the Court
will deny all three motions.
Leigh McBarron Hall (“Plaintiff” or
“Hall”) brings this lawsuit against her former
employer, AMS, and its representative, Mr. Schellhardt, for
claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219a. The
following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and,
for the purposes of this motion, are presumed true.
approximately August 2012 until September 2016, Hall was
employed as a dispatcher and clerical worker in an office
operated by AMS in Chantilly, Virginia. Compl. ¶ 4. Hall
alleges that she was required to work overtime hours for
which she was not compensated. Id. ¶ 12. In
addition, Hall claims that Defendants incorrectly recorded
her hours of work, failed to pay her for all of the hours
that she worked, and did not maintain regular pay periods in
order to compensate her in a timely fashion. Id.
¶¶ 15-16. She also alleges that Defendants failed
to inform her of her FLSA rights. Id. ¶ 17.
filed the instant Complaint on November 7, 2016. [Dkt. 1.] On
November 30, 2016, Defendants filed its omnibus motion. [Dkt.
3.] Plaintiff filed her opposition on December 12, 2016 [Dkt.
6], to which Defendants replied on December 20, 2016 [Dkt.
7]. Oral argument was held on January 26, 2017. This motion
is now ripe for disposition.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency
of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests
surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses.” Republican Party of
N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)
(citation omitted). The Supreme Court has stated that in
order “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a [c]omplaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, 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, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id.
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]
. . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citations
omitted). While legal conclusions can provide the framework
for a complaint, all claims must be supported by factual
allegations. Id. Based upon these allegations, the
court must determine whether the plaintiff's pleadings
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id.
Legal conclusions couched as factual allegations are not
sufficient, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, nor are
“unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or
arguments, ” E. Shore Mkts., Inc. v. J.D. Assocs.
Ltd. P'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000). The
plaintiff does not have to show a likelihood of success;
rather, the complaint must merely allege-directly or
indirectly-each element of a “viable legal
theory.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 562-63. In
assessing the plaintiff's complaint, the court must
construe it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
read the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted
therein as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
judgment is appropriate only if the record shows that
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986);
Evans v. Techs. Apps. & Serv. Co., 80 F.3d 954,
958-59 (4th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). The party seeking
summary judgment has the initial burden of showing the
absence of a material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett
477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact
exists “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the non-moving party.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
Rule 12(e), a party may move for a more
definite statement “if a pleading to which a responsive
pleading is permitted is so vague or ambiguous that a party
cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive
pleading.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). Motions for more
definite statements are generally not favored, however.
See, e.g., Frederick v. Koziol,727 F.Supp. 1019,
1021 (E.D. Va. 1990) (denying motion for more definite
statement where court determined that complaint was not so
vague and ambiguous so as to preclude defendant from framing
a responsive pleading). Rather, motions for more definite
statements are “‘designed to strike at
unintelligibility rather than simple want of detail,
'” and will be granted “only when the
complaint is so vague and ambiguous that the defendant cannot
frame a responsive pleading.” Id. (quoting