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Montanez v. Voss Industries, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

May 31, 2019

EVANGELITA MONTANEZ, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
v.
VOSS INDUSTRIES, LLC., ET AL., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motions to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, to Strike Class Allegations by Defendant Voss Industries, LLC., (ECF # 19) and Defendant Technical Search Consultants, Inc. (ECF # 20). For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendants' Motions.

         Factual Allegations

         According to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), Plaintiff was employed as a material handler between December 2018 and March 2018 with Defendant Voss Industries, LLC. (“Voss”), a manufacturer of specialized band clamps, V-band couplings, flanges, ducting components and other fabricated products. Defendant Technical Search Consultants, Inc. (“TSC”) is a temporary third-party staffing agency that supplies employees to Voss. Plaintiff alleges both Voss and TSC are joint employers of Plaintiff and the putative class. Putative class members include material handlers, engineering assistants and computer numerically controlled (“CNC”) operators. According to Plaintiff, both Defendants had the authority to hire, fire and discipline Plaintiff and the putative class members and maintained employment, time and pay records of the putative class. Plaintiff further alleges Defendants controlled the manner in which Plaintiff and the putative class performed their work, the hours, location and how they performed their work and established policies and rules to be followed. Defendants also controlled the manner in which Plaintiff and the putative class were paid including the rate, method and time they were paid.

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants failed to pay for work performed before the scheduled start and stop times and failed to pay for overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act (“OMFWSA”).

         Plaintiff brings these claims as a collective action under the FLSA and as a class action under the OMFWSA. Plaintiff asserts her FLSA claims collectively on behalf of eligible employees defined as:

All former and current manufacturing employees of Voss Industries, LLC and/or Technical Search Consultants Inc. at any and all time between June 18, 2015 and the present.

         Plaintiff's class action claim is brought on behalf of a class of Ohio employees defined as:

All former and current manufacturing employees of Voss Industries, LLC and/or Technical Search Consultants Inc. in the State of Ohio at any and all time between June 18, 2015 and the present.

         According to Voss, the FAC should be dismissed because it fails to allege sufficient facts to render her claims plausible. Should the Court consider the facts as alleged sufficient to support her claims, Voss asks the Court to strike the class claims because the First Amended Complaint allegations do not support class certification.

         Voss contends that Plaintiff fails to allege facts supporting her conclusory statement that she was not paid overtime for pre-shift and post-shift off-the-clock work and fails to allege Defendants knew or should have known about the unpaid off-the-clock work. They further contend that Plaintiff fails to assert any factual allegations supporting her claim that Defendants had a policy or practice of requiring employees perform off-the-clock work and completely fails to assert any facts regarding her own job duties or those of the putative class. Lastly, Defendants ask the Court to strike Plaintiff's class claims as the nature of the claims themselves do not support Fed.R.Civ.P. 23's commonality, typicality, predominance and superiority requirements. The FAC fails to assert a common unlawful practice by Defendants that violates the FLSA and OMEFWSA and applied to the different job duties of the putative class. Furthermore, the evidence of damages will not be common to the class but will instead be highly individualized.

         TSC argues the FAC should be dismissed because Plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to plausibly show TSC was a joint employer of Plaintiff and the putative class. As a temporary employee staffer, TSC did not control relevant aspects of Plaintiff's and the putative class's work. Plaintiff's threadbare allegations are conclusory in nature and cannot support her allegation that TSC was a joint employer. None of the consent forms name TSC as an employer and Plaintiff does not allege TSC had actual or constructive knowledge that Plaintiff and the putative class members were not paid overtime wages.

         TSC further contends the above defenses apply equally in favor of striking Plaintiff's class claims against TSC. TSC further adopts Voss's arguments for striking the class claims and asserts that the class claims be stricken for failing to allege that all members of the putative class were provided to Voss by TSC.

         Plaintiff asserts she provided factual allegations sufficient to meet the federal pleading standard. She alleges facts sufficient to show that she worked more that 40 hours a week and was not paid for the overtime. She further alleges Defendants knew of the hours worked and, per Defendants policy or practices, ...


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