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Groce v. Claudat

August 24, 2010

MARK GLEN GROCE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THEDORE BERNARD CLAUDAT, DBA QUALITY INSTANT PRINTING DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Barry Ted Moskowitz United States District Judge

ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS

Defendant Thedore Claudat, doing business as Quality Instant Printing, has filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint [Doc. 16]. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff Mark Groce has sued Mr. Claudat, his former employer, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., ("FLSA") for failure to pay overtime wages and has also alleged a variety of state-law claims including Labor Code violations, unfair competition, and negligence.

Defendant hired Plaintiff in November 2004 to work for Defendant's printing business in San Diego, California. Employed as a printing-press operator, Plaintiff made $12.00 from the time he started until April 30, 2005. He then got a raise and made $13.00 per hour from May 1, 2005 until July 29, 2005, which was his last day of work. Although Plaintiff worked in excess of eight hours per day and on weekends, Defendant failed to compensate him for those overtime hours at a higher rate. Defendant also failed to give Plaintiff rest and meal breaks.

In addition to the overtime-hours violation, Defendant failed to give Plaintiff an itemized wage statement listing the gross wages, net wages, deductions, tax, and other items. Defendant also did not make the required deductions and contributions, in violation of state and federal law. As a result, Plaintiff has had to pay extra interest and penalties to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to these wage violations, Defendant also failed to buy workers' compensation insurance.

Plaintiff suffered an on-the-job injury while he moved some equipment at Defendant's business. He told Defendant about the injury on about July 15, 2005, and Defendant told him that he did not have Workers' Compensation Insurance.

Plaintiff resigned on July 29, 2005 and did not receive his full wages upon termination. Plaintiff represents himself in this matter. He alleges a violation of the FLSA and the California Labor Code for failure to pay overtime wages. He also alleges a negligence claim for Defendant's failure to withhold taxes and get workers' compensation insurance. And he alleges a violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 ("UCL"), for the same actions. As remedies, he seeks a declaratory judgment and compensatory and punitive damages.

Defendant has moved to dismiss the Complaint because (1) the statute of limitations has run on Plaintiff's claims, (2) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and (3) the Complaint fails to state a claim. The Court addresses each of Defendant's arguments below.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the plaintiff is required only to set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," and "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the allegations of material fact in plaintiff's complaint are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Parks Sch. of Bus., Inc. v. Symington, 51 F.3d 1480, 1484 (9th Cir. 1995). But only factual allegations must be accepted as true-not legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. Although detailed factual allegations are not required, the factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Furthermore, "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

III. DISCUSSION

1. Statute of Limitations

Defendant first argues that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. Plaintiff does not deny he filed his claims beyond the statutory period, but claims that ...


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