United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
LOUIS HOPKINS, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
U.S. BANCORP, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
Timothy S. Black, United States District Judge.
civil action is before the Court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss (Doc. 19)and the parties' responsive memoranda
(Docs. 20, 22).
FACTS AS ALLEGED BY THE PLAINTIFF
purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court must: (1) view
the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff; and
(2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.
Tackett v. M&G Polymers, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th
a class action seeking damages for Plaintiff and the class he
seeks to represent, consisting of all hourly paid employees
who worked for Defendants in the United States, and who were
not paid for all hours worked (“the
Class”). Specifically, Defendants allegedly entered
into a compensation agreement with Plaintiff and the Class
members whereby Defendants agreed to compensate them an
hourly wage for every hour worked. This class action advances
a single breach of contract claim arising from
Defendants' alleged failure to fully compensate its
hourly paid employees for all hours worked as agreed between
the parties. (Doc. 18, at 11-12).
Order denying an earlier motion to dismiss, the Court found
that Plaintiff had failed to identify or describe with
specificity the circumstances under which any alleged
contractual agreement was formed. (Doc. 17, at 4). Plaintiff
was ordered to file an amended complaint identifying the
contract that formed the basis of his claims. (Id.
at 5). In an amended complaint filed October 12, 2016,
Plaintiff stated that, following his initial job interview
with U.S. Bank, Brandon Singleton, a manager in the
Residential Mortgage Default Management Department, offered
him a job. (Doc. 18, at 3). Furthermore, “Mr. Singleton
specifically told [Plaintiff] that the job was an hourly
position starting at approximately $15 per hour, plus
benefits. . . . Mr. Singleton promised [Plaintiff] $15 per
hour for every hour worked.” (Id. at 4).
addition to this conversation, the amended complaint
incorporates by reference a letter which was sent to
Plaintiff following his initial job interview. That letter,
written by Linda Mitchell, an employee with U.S. Bank human
resources, extended a conditional offer of employment to
Plaintiff. (Doc. 12-1, at 2). In a section titled
“Offer Details, ” Plaintiff's salary was
listed as “$32, 614.40 Annually, $15.68 Hourly.”
(Id. at 3). That letter explicitly stated that it
“[did] not create a contract of employment.”
(Id.). The letter also stated that Plaintiff would
be an at-will employee and that “the terms of [his]
employment, compensation or benefits may change at any time,
without advance notice or consent.” (Id.).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) operates
to test the sufficiency of the complaint and permits
dismissal of a complaint for “failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” To show grounds for
relief, Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) requires that the complaint contain
a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 “does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations, ' . . . it demands more than an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544 (2007)). Pleadings offering mere
“‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.'” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In fact, in determining a
motion to dismiss, “courts ‘are not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation[.]'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265 (1986)).
Further, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level[.]”
“[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, 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. A claim is
plausible where “plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. Plausibility “is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. “[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the
pleader is entitled to relief, '” and the case
shall be dismissed. Id. (citing Fed. Rule
Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).
evident from the pleadings that, even accepting the
allegations of the amended complaint as true, no contract was
reached between the parties. “[T]he elements for a
breach of contract claim are the existence of a valid
contract between the parties, performance by the plaintiff, a
breach by the defendant, and resulting damages.”
Bihn v. Fifth Third Mortgage Co., 3:13-cv-00057,
2013 WL 5882063, *12 (S.D. Ohio 2013). A binding contract
exists only if its terms are definite and certain.
Episcopal Retirement Homes, Inc. v. Ohio Dept. of Indus.
Relations, 61 Ohio St.3d 366, 575 N.E.2d 134 (1991). If
“essential terms are not present, then it is not a
valid agreement, but rather an agreement to make an
agreement.” Outland v. Heritage Custom Const.,
2002 Ohio 6595, ¶ 29, 2002 WL 31715036, *4 (Ohio Ct.
App.) (citing Alligood v. Procter & Gamble Co.,
72 Ohio App.3d 309, 594 N.E.2d 668 (1991)). Enforceable
employment agreements relating to certain terms may be
implied based on all the facts and circumstances, the customs
and course of dealings between the parties, company policy,
and other relevant factors. See Condon v. Body, Vickers
& Daniels, 649 N.E.2d 1259, 1263 (Ohio Ct. App.
1994) (citing Mers v. Dispatch Printing Co., 483
N.E.2d 150, 154 (Ohio 1985)).
response to the motion to dismiss identifies, as the offer
and acceptance creating the contract in this case, the
conversation after the job interview where Plaintiff was
offered a position that “was an hourly position
starting at approximately $15 per hour, plus benefits.”
(Doc. 18, at 4). However, the terms of that alleged agreement
are too indefinite to be the basis of a binding contract.
Plaintiff's own retelling of the alleged agreement
confirms that there was no agreement as to the exact wage
Plaintiff would be paid, the most essential term of an
employment contract. Furthermore, this alleged agreement
contained a nebulous promise for “benefits” that
contained no further details. The important details of
Plaintiff's wage and benefits did not receive elaboration
until Plaintiff received his ...