United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
ROYAL HAMPTON, et al. Plaintiffs,
MAXWELL TRAILERS & PICK-UP ACCESSORIES, INC., et al., Defendants.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Joint Motion to
Dismiss Count II of Plaintiffs' Complaint, [Doc. No. 15],
and Defendant Maxwell Trailers & Pick-Up Accessories,
Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 17]. Plaintiffs
oppose both motions, which have been fully briefed. For the
reasons set forth below, both motions are denied.
Royal Hampton (“Hampton”) and James Pierce
“Plaintiffs”) are welders who bring this action
on behalf of themselves and a similarly situated class of
plaintiffs against their employers. Plaintiffs allege that
Defendants have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29
U.S.C. § 216(b), et seq. (“FLSA”)
and the Missouri Minimum Wage Law, § 290.500 RSMo,
et seq. (“MMWL”).
to the complaint, Defendant Maxwell Trailers & Pick-Up
Accessories, Inc. (“Maxwell”) is in the business
of manufacturing, selling, and distributing trailers,
automobiles, trucks, wagons, and other mechanically propelled
vehicles. Defendant Ironstar Beds, LLC
(“Ironstar”) is in the business of, inter
alia, manufacturing and selling steel products to truck
equipment dealers and distributors. Maxwell and Ironstar
(collectively, “Defendants”) are related through
common ownership and management. Defendants employ dozens of
non-exempt, hourly-paid workers, including Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs and other similarly situated employees have been
employed at all relevant times by Maxwell and/or Ironstar.
Plaintiffs worked at Defendants' shared facility in
and other similarly situated employees routinely worked in
excess of 40 hours per week. Hampton regularly worked 55
hours per week, and Pierce regularly worked 70 hours per
week. Plaintiffs and those similarly situated did not receive
an overtime rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40
hours per workweek. Instead, Defendants paid these employees
their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40.
2018, Hampton began asking his co-workers if they would be
interested in joining collectively to assert their statutory
right to overtime pay. Many of Hampton's co-workers
expressed interest in pursuing a lawsuit. Soon, the owner of
Defendants, Randy Maxwell, learned of Hampton's intention
to assert his rights to overtime pay with a lawsuit, and
learned that Hampton was encouraging his coworkers to do the
August 2018, Randy Maxwell told Hampton that he needed to
“squash” the anticipated lawsuit and “make
sure nothing happened.” Defendants' plant manager
told Hampton that until there was proof that he would not
pursue his claims, Hampton would be limited to working 40
hours per week. Hampton's hours were then reduced to a
maximum 40 hours per week. Hampton relied on the compensation
he received from his regular schedule of 55 or more hours per
week to support himself and his family.
August or early September 2018, Defendants informed the
employees in Hampton's building that they were no longer
allowed to work more than 40 hours per week. A few weeks
later, Defendants informed their employees that no one at the
Mexico location could work more than 40 hours per week. The
plant manager reportedly told the employees that Defendants
cut their hours at the “fault” of Hampton and his
October 1, 2018, the plant manager told Hampton that
“Randy's not paying for overtime.” On October
2, Hampton informed the plant manager he would be late to
work based on obligations at home. The plant manager said
that was fine, but when Hampton arrived to work, the plant
manager told him that Defendants were terminating his
employment. Hampton appealed to Randy Maxwell, who told
Hampton that he did not want to “deal with” him
any longer. Upon Hampton's termination, Defendants
returned employees to schedules of more than 40 hours per
allege three counts: Count I alleges that Defendants failed
to pay overtime wages in violation of the FLSA; Count II
alleges that Defendants violated the FLSA's
non-retaliation provisions by reducing hours and terminating
Hampton as a result of his impending lawsuit; and Count III
alleges that Defendants failed to pay overtime wages in
violation of the MMWL. Plaintiffs assert each count on behalf
of themselves and similarly situated employees as collective
(Counts I and II) and class (Count III) actions.
to Dismiss Standard
purpose of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
is to test the legal sufficiency of the complaint. To survive
a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “a
complaint 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 Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A complaint
states a plausible claim for relief if its ‘factual
content ... allows the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
considering a 12(b)(6) motion, the district court accepts as
true all factual allegations in the complaint and grants all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Crooks v. Lynch, 557 F.3d 846, 848 (8th Cir. 2009).
A claim for relief “must include sufficient factual
information to provide the ‘grounds' on which the
claim rests, and to raise a right to relief above a
speculative level.” Schaaf v. Residential Funding
Corp.,517 F.3d 544, 549 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3). This obligation
requires a plaintiff to plead “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. The principle that a court must accept as true
all of the allegations ...