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McDonald v. Gore Nitrogen Pumping Service LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

February 13, 2019

CORY MCDONALD, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
GORE NITROGEN PUMPING SERVICE, LLC, and GARY GORE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          CHARLES B. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Now before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 14), filed on December 3, 2018. Plaintiff has responded in opposition (Doc. No. 16), and Defendants have replied (Doc. No. 19). Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the Court denies Defendants' motion.

         Summary of the Pleading

         Plaintiff Cory McDonald brings this action on behalf of himself and others similarly situated pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (the “FLSA”). Defendants provide a range of specialized oilfield services to clients in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, and Eastern Colorado. See Am. Compl. (Doc. No. 13) at 1.[1] Plaintiff worked for Defendants as a “Fracturing Specialist” and “Frac Hand” from approximately January 2018 to July 2018. Id. at 2, 5. Plaintiff's job involved “Oilfield Work, including transporting, loading, unloading, rigging up, rigging down, and operating oilfield equipment at well sites for Defendant's customers.” Id. at 5. According to Plaintiff, Defendants consistently worked Plaintiff more than 40 hours a week and did not pay him any overtime pay. Id. at 6.

         Further, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants made a policy of this practice-i.e., that they consistently overworked many other similarly situated employees without providing overtime pay. Id. Thus, rather than bring this action purely on his own behalf, Plaintiff also brings this action on behalf of a group of employees:

The similarly situated “FLSA Class Members” consist of Defendants' current and former non-supervisory Field Employees (1) who received pay on a salary basis; (2) whose job duties included Oilfield Work or similar job duties; and (3) who worked over 40 hours in at least one workweek over the past three years without receiving overtime pay. The FLSA Class Members include, without limitation, individuals that worked under the job titles of “Frac Hand, ” “Pump Hand, ” “Fracturing Specialist, ” “Nitrogen Pumping Specialist, ” “Fluid Pump Operator, ” “Nitrogen Operator, ” “Equipment Operator, ” “Treatment Analyst, ” and other non-supervisory job titles performing similar work that include the term “Specialist, ” “Hand” or “Operator” in the job title that Defendants subjected to their OT Misclassification Policy.

Id. at 2-3 (footnotes omitted). Plaintiff alleges that, similarly to himself, these employees “performed the manual and technical labor to provide the very services that Defendant offers as the primary output to their customers-the delivery and operation of oilfield equipment to customers at well sites.” Id. at 5, 6.

         Analysis

         Defendants move to dismiss both Plaintiff's individual FLSA claim and his collective action allegations. Regarding his individual claim, Defendants contend that they have not been provided with fair notice regarding whether Plaintiff is an appropriate representative. Defs.' Mot. at 20-21. And regarding the collective action allegations, Defendants maintain that the plaintiff group is vaguely and overinclusively defined. See Id. at 9-20.

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges whether a complaint sets out a “statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Issa v. Comp USA, 354 F.3d 1174, 1178 (10th Cir. 2003). To survive dismissal a “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible when the well-pled factual allegations, accepted as true and viewed in the plaintiff's favor, “allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged” under the governing law. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 679; See Hunt v. Cent. Consol. Sch. Dist., 951 F.Supp.2d 1136, 1173 (D.N.M. 2013) (“[A] court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint, view those allegations in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.”).

         Under the FLSA, overtime pay of one and a half times the employee's hourly rate is required for any hour worked over 40 hours in a week. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). To state a claim for violation of the FLSA's overtime pay requirements, Plaintiff must allege: (1) that Defendants are “employers” under the Act; (2) that Plaintiff is an “employee” under the Act; (3) that Defendants employed Plaintiff's services; (4) that Plaintiff was required to work more than 40 hours in a single work week; and (5) that Plaintiff did not receive compensation at a rate of 1.5 times his normal hourly rate for the hours he worked over 40 in that week. See id.; Cooper v. Coil Chem., LLC, No. CIV-16-473-D, 2016 WL 7168235, at *2 (W.D. Okla. Dec. 8, 2016).

         A. Plaintiff's Individual Claim

         Defendants contend that dismissal of Plaintiff's individual claim is warranted because Plaintiff's job definition is impermissibly overbroad, thereby precluding Defendants from determining what work Plaintiff performed and from properly evaluating whether Plaintiff is a suitable representative plaintiff for an FLSA collective action. See Defs.' Mot. at 20-21. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff identified his position as a “non-supervisory Field Employee, ” and noted that “Defendant referred to Plaintiff's specific job title in multiple ways during his employment, including referring to his position as ‘Fracturing Specialist' and ‘Frac Hand.'” Am. Compl. at 2.

         Though Defendants object to Plaintiff's job description, they do not argue that it is inadequate to plausibly show that Plaintiff is “an ‘employee' as defined by the [FLSA]” or that Defendants “employed Plaintiff's services.” Cooper, 2016 WL 7168235, at *2 (citing 29 U.S.C. ยง 207(a)(1)). Indeed, Defendants do not identify any element of an FLSA claim that Plaintiff has failed to adequately allege. Nor do Defendants point to any authority suggesting that Plaintiff's adequacy as ...


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