United States District Court, S.D. California
BERNICE RATCLIFFE, individually and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiff,
APEX SYSTEMS, LLC., a Virginia limited liability company; and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.
WILLIAM Q. HAYES UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter before the Court is Defendant Apex Systems, LCC's
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (ECF No. 7).
August 5, 2019, Plaintiff commenced this action by filing a
Complaint in the Superior Court of California for the County
of San Diego, assigned case number
37-2019-00040686-CU-OE-CTL, against Defendant Apex Systems,
LCC (Ex. A, ECF No. 1-2 at 2).
August 30, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer in the Superior
Court of California for the County of San Diego. (Ex. B, ECF
No. 1-3 at 2).
September 4, 2019, Defendant removed the action to this Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), § 1332(c), §
1332(d), § 1441, § 1446, § 1453. (ECF No. 1).
Defendant contends that this Court has original jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(2) (the Class Action
Fairness Act of 2005) and diversity jurisdiction pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). Id. at 1-2.
September 17, 2019, Defendant filed the Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings. (ECF No. 7). On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff
filed a Response in Opposition. (ECF No. 11). On October 11,
2019, Defendants filed a Reply. (ECF No. 12).
OF THE COMPLAINT
alleges that Defendant employed Plaintiff in California as an
hourly-wage employee from May of 2017 to August of 2018. (Ex.
A, ECF No. 1-2 at 8). Plaintiff alleges the following causes
of action against Defendant: (1) failure to pay overtime
wages; (2) failure to pay for work performed during meal
periods; (3) failure to pay for work performed during rest
periods; (4) failure to pay at least minimum wages for all
hours worked; (5) failure to pay wages owed at the time of
discharge or resignation; (6) failure to provide accurate
itemized wage statements; and (7) failure to reimburse
business expenses. Id. at 13-20. In addition,
Plaintiff alleges an eighth claim for engaging in unlawful
and unfair business practices. Id. at 21. Plaintiff
seeks an Order certifying the Class; general and special
damages; actual, consequential, and incidental damages;
liquidated damages; punitive damages; civil penalties;
statutory penalties; prejudgment interest; attorneys'
fees; injunctive relief; and the appointment of a receiver to
receive, manage, and distribute funds disgorged from
Defendants. Id. at 22-26.
motion for judgment on the pleadings is governed by Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), which states, “[a]fter
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay
trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
“Judgement on the pleadings is properly granted when,
accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true,
there is no issue of material fact in dispute, and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Chavez v. United States, 683 F.3d 1102, 1108 (9th
Cir. 2012) (quotation omitted). “Analysis under Rule
12(c) is substantially identical to analysis under [Federal]
Rule [of Civil Procedure] 12(b)(6) because, under both rules,
a court must determine whether the facts alleged in the
complaint, taken as true, entitle the plaintiff to a legal
remedy.” Id. (quotation omitted). To
sufficiently state a claim for relief and survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, a complaint “does not need detailed
factual allegations” but the “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “[A]
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Id. When
considering a motion to dismiss, a court must accept as true
all “well-pleaded factual allegations.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
However, a court is not “required to accept as true
allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted
deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.”
Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988
(9th Cir. 2001).
OF THE PARTIES
contends that Plaintiff's conclusory allegations provide
no substantive facts to show that Defendant's conduct
allegedly led to unpaid overtime and unpaid minimum wages.
(ECF No. 7-1 at 9). Defendant contends that Plaintiff fails
to allege facts to support conclusory allegations regarding
meal and rest period violations. Id. at 12.
Defendant contends that Plaintiff fails to allege facts that
would give rise to a plausible business expense reimbursement
claim. Id. at 13. Defendant contends that
Plaintiff's claims regarding wages owed at the time of
discharge or resignation, accurate itemized wage statements,
and unfair business practices fail to meet the plausibility
pleading standard because each claim derives from other
factually deficient allegations. Id. at 14.
Defendant contends that Plaintiff's prayer for punitive
damages fails as a matter of law because punitive damages are
not recoverable for California Labor Code violations.
Id. at 15.
contends that the Complaint pleads sufficient facts to state
claims for unpaid minimum wages and unpaid overtime. (ECF No.
11 at 7). Plaintiff contends that the Complaint adequately
pleads claims for meal and rest period violations.
Id. at 8. Plaintiff contends that the Complaint
sufficiently pleads a cause of action for unreimbursed
business expenses. Id. at 8-9. Plaintiff contends
that the Complaint adequately pleads claims for wages owed at
the time of discharge or resignation, inaccurate wage
statements, and unfair competition. Id. at 9-10.
Plaintiff requests leave to amend the Complaint should this
Court be inclined to grant Defendant's Motion.
Id. at 10.
Claims One and Four: Unpaid Overtime and Unpaid Minimum
law requires that an employer pay overtime wages to
non-exempt employees at a rate of one and one-half times
their regular rate of pay for work in excess of eight hours
in a day or forty hours in a week. Cal. Labor Code
§§ 510, 1198. California law also requires that