United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
RE: DKT. NO. 25
MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge
Jose Gonzalez (“Plaintiff”) filed this action on
behalf of himself and others similarly situated against
Defendants Fallanghina LLC (“Fallanghina”),
Longbranch Berkeley LLC (“Longbranch”), Hal
Brandel, and Walter Wright (collectively
“Defendants”), alleging they violated various
federal and California labor and employment laws. Pending
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”)
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”)
12(b)(6). Dkt. No. 25. Plaintiff filed an Opposition (Dkt.
No. 29), and Defendants filed a Reply (Dkt. No. 30). The
Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without oral
argument and VACATES the July 28, 2016 hearing. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having considered
the parties' positions, relevant legal authority, and the
record in this case, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion
for the following reasons.
filed his initial Complaint on April 11, 2016, alleging
Defendants (1) did not pay him or other non-exempt current
and former employees overtime or minimum wages as required by
federal and California law, and (2) did not give them meal or
rest breaks as required under California law. Compl., Dkt.
No. 1. In doing so, Plaintiff also asserted Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims of unpaid overtime
and unpaid minimum wage on a collective-action basis.
Id. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on May 17,
2016, and subsequently, Plaintiff filed his FAC, removing the
minimum wage claims and providing other allegations regarding
the overtime claims. See FAC, Dkt. No. 22. The FAC
asserts five causes of action: (1) failure to pay overtime
under the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207; (2) failure to pay
overtime under California Labor Code “Section 501, et.
al”; (3) failure to provide proper meal and rest breaks
under California Labor Code §§ 226.7, 512; (4)
failure to make payments within the time required after
termination under California Labor Code §§ 201,
202, 203; and (5) restitution of unpaid overtime wages under
California's Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”),
Business and Profession Code §§ 17200, et seq.
Id. The FAC does not state which Defendant(s) is
allegedly liable for which cause(s) of action.
appears to allege Defendants Fallanghina and Longbranch
“were joint employers” engaged in the
“restaurant business.” Id. ¶ 5.
Plaintiff worked in some capacity at Paisan Osteria,
“the restaurant owned and managed by Fallenghina[,
]” as well as Longbranch Saloon, “the
restaurant owned and managed by Longbranch[.]”
Id. Plaintiff alleges “[b]oth restaurant
operations were housed in the same building, . . . shared
employees . . . a common refrigerator . . . the same chefs
and supervisor, inter alia[.]” Id.
Plaintiff does not explain his role at the restaurant (i.e.,
whether he was a waiter, a line cook, a dishwasher, a host, a
busser, etc.) but alleges he worked in
“shifts” and he “performed . . . non-exempt
duties under both California and Federal law[.]”
Id. ¶ 8.
contends “Plaintiffs worked for each joint employer and
were subject to a plan, scheme and policy of Fallaghina 
and Longbranch  to deprive them of their lawfully earned
overtime compensation by issuing separate payroll checks to
avoid paying overtime compensation.” Id.
¶ 6. Plaintiff explains that “during the pay
period October 5, 2015 to October 18, 2015, [he] worked 78.54
hours at the Paisan Osteria restaurant and 41.81 hours at the
Longbranch Saloon, and was only paid .65 hours overtime for
the Paisan Osteria restaurant.” Id. ¶ 9.
He further alleges that “[d]uring the pay period
December 15, 2014 to December 28, 2014, [he] was denied meal
breaks and rest breaks at both LLCs.” Id.
also sues Defendants Hal Brandel and Walter Wright, who
Plaintiff alleges are “the principals and controlling
stockholders” in Fallaghina and Longbranch,
respectively. Id. ¶ 2. According to the FAC,
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege
that Fallaghina LLC and Longbranch Berkeley LLC are the alter
egos of the Walter Wright and Hal Brandel, respectively, and
those LLCs were formed, among other reasons, to defraud
workers like Plaintiffs by erecting a corporate shield to
protect the individual Defendants from liability for their
wrongful conduct[.]” Id. (errors in original).
Plaintiff alleges “monies and assets are comingled
between the LLC and the individuals, the formalities of
corporate structure are disregarded, and the corporate
separateness is ignored[.]” Id. He contends
they are employers under the FLSA because they
acted directly or indirectly in the interest of the LLCs in
relation to Plaintiff Gonzales and other similarly situated
employees by their authority over the operations of the LLCs,
including authority over the daily operations of the LLCs and
their managers, authority over the financial operations of
the LLCs and their payrolls; establishment of a payroll
system; control over the hiring and firing of employees their
authority over the managerial staff of the LLCs; authority
over the method of payment of the LLCs staff; participation
in the decisions to operate the two LLCs in the same physical
building and to share employee work among the LLCs[.]
Id. ¶ 3 (errors in original).
filed their pending Motion to Dismiss on June 21, 2016. Dkt.
No. 25. They move to dismiss Plaintiffs' FAC on two
grounds: (1) “[t]o the extent that Plaintiff alleges
any causes of action against the named individual defendants
Hal Brandel and Walter Wright based on an alter ego theory,
Defendants move to dismiss Hal Brandel and Walter Wright as
defendants from this action”; and (2) “[t]o the
extent that Plaintiff alleges a cause of action for
violations of California Labor Code sections 226.7 and 512
(meal and rest break claims), Defendants move to dismiss
Plaintiff's claim on the grounds that Plaintiff has
failed to plead any facts supporting that cause of
action.” Mot. at 1. They contend that “[a]lthough
the standard for pleading under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure Rule 8 is not high, Plaintiff has not met it with
respect to his meal and rest break claims or his allegations
that the corporate veil should be pierced so that Hal Brandel
and Walter Wright can be held individually liable.”
Id. at 2. They assert that “[w]ith respect to
these two issues, [Plaintiff] has failed to state any
plausible claim for relief because he simply has not alleged
any non-conclusory facts supporting these claimed legal
violations.” Id. (citations omitted).
Defendants thus ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's
alter ego allegations against Hal Brandel and Walter Wright
and dismiss Plaintiff's meal and rest break claim (third
cause of action) for failure to state a claim on which relief
can be granted. Id.
8(a) requires that a complaint contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint
must therefore provide a defendant with “fair
notice” of the claims against it and the grounds for
relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007) (internal quotations and citation omitted).
may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) when it does not
contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. Id. at 570. “A claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
„probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual
allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
„grounds' of his „entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a