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Hall v. American Mechanical Services of Maryland, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

January 26, 2017




         This 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.

         I. Background

         Kyle 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.

         From 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.

         Plaintiff 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.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Rule 12(b)(6)

         “A 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.

         “Determining 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.

         B. Rule 56

         Summary 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.

         C. Rule 12(e)

         Under 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 ...

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