United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
CHANTAL ASKEW, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, PLAINTIFF,
TRUE HEARTS OF CARE, LLC, DEFENDANT.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE SARA LIOI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the motion for judgment on the pleadings filed
by defendant True Hearts of Care, LLC (“THC” or
“defendant”). (Doc. No. 14 [“Mot.”].)
Plaintiff Chantel Askew (“Askew” or
“plaintiff”) filed an opposition brief (Doc. No.
15 [“Opp'n”]) and THC filed a reply (Doc. No.
16 [“Reply”]). For the reasons set forth herein,
the motion is denied.
16, 2019, Askew filed her complaint against THC under the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C.
§§ 201-219. “[THC] provides direct care services
and transportation to individuals with developmental
disabilities.” (Doc. No. 1, Complaint
[“Compl.”] ¶ 13; Doc. No. 5, Answer
[“Answer”] ¶ 13.) Askew was employed by
“in a direct care position, providing care and in-home
support for developmentally disabled individuals in their
homes.” (Compl. ¶ 15; Answer ¶ 15.) She was
paid on an hourly wage basis. (Compl. ¶ 18; Answer
Askew acknowledges she was paid overtime for hours worked in
excess of 40 hours per week (Compl. ¶ 19; Answer ¶
19), she alleges she was not paid for hours worked between
client appointments, including time spent driving to and from
client homes, which is allegedly compensable time under the
“continuous workday rule.” (Compl. ¶¶
gravamen of Askew's complaint is the allegation that she
“had approximately two to three appointments per day
during her employment with [THC], and was not paid for an
average of 30 to 45 minutes of driving between client
appointments per day.” (Id. ¶ 24; see
also ¶ 31.)
denies that plaintiff traveled between client homes at all,
indicating instead that she worked full shifts at each
individual client's home, and that she was paid for all
time worked, as reflected in time sheets attached to
THC's answer. (Answer ¶¶ 21-22; Doc. No. 5-2,
Time Sheets [“Ex. B”].) Defendant denies
Askew's allegation that she had two to three appointments
per day and was not paid for 30 to 45 minutes of driving
between appointments per day. (Answer ¶¶ 24, 31.)
counterclaim, defendant alleges that Askew was generally
scheduled to work 8- to 10-hour shifts (which Askew admits),
the entirety of which was performed at one location for the
duration of each shift, without clocking out (which Askew
denies). (Doc. No. 5, Counterclaim [“Countercl.”]
¶ 57; Doc. No. 13, Answer to Counterclaim [“Answer
to Countercl.”] ¶ 5.) THC also alleges that Askew
was not permitted to provide any form of transportation or do
any driving during her shifts, a condition of her employment
that Askew acknowledged in writing. (Countercl. ¶ 58;
Doc. No. 5-1, Non-Driver Affidavit [“Ex A”].)
Askew denies this allegation. (Answer to Countercl. ¶
6.) THC alleges that Askew falsified her time sheets, both
charging for time she did not work and claiming time for
training she did not attend. (Countercl. ¶ 60 and Ex.
B.) Askew denies these allegations. (Answer to Countercl.
¶ 8.) On February 13, 2019, as Askew admits, she was
suspended due to multiple write-ups for failing to appear for
scheduled shifts. (Countercl. ¶ 68; Answer to Countercl.
¶ 16.) Finally, as Askew also admits, she was eventually
placed on unpaid administrative leave due to an assault
charge and, ultimately, was terminated. (Countercl. ¶
71; Answer to Countercl. ¶ 19.)
Civ. P. 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are
closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move
for judgment on the pleadings.” The standard of review
for a motion for judgment on the pleadings is the same as for
a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim for relief
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). E.E.O.C. v. J.H. Routh
Packing Co., 246 F.3d 850, 851 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing
Grindstaff v. Green, 133 F.3d 416, 421 (6th Cir.
purposes of a motion for judgment on the pleadings, all
well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the
opposing party must be taken as true, and the motion may be
granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly
entitled to judgment.” JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v.
Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting
S. Ohio Bank v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner &
Smith, Inc., 479 F.2d 478, 480 (6th Cir. 1973)). While
detailed factual allegations are not required, Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) calls for sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to “‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).
“The plausibility standard . . . asks for more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully[,
]” id., and the district court “need not
accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual
inferences.” Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400
(6th Cir. 1999) (citing Morgan v. Church's Fried
Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987)). “The
motion is granted when no material issue of fact exists and
the party making the motion is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Paskvan v. City of Cleveland Civil
Serv. Comm'n, 946 F.2d 1233, 1235 (6th Cir. 1991)
argues that, because Askew was paid for all the time she
worked, THC is entitled to judgment. (Mot. at 118.) THC
points to the Portal Act under which employers are not
required to pay for time spent “‘traveling to and
from the actual place of performance of the principal
activity or activities [which an] employee is employed to
perform'” or for “preliminary or
postliminary activities which occur either before or after
the workday begins or ends.” (Mot. at 120 (quoting 29
U.S.C. § 254(a)).)
also notes that Askew's complaint does not allege she did
not receive compensation for hours submitted,  but rather only
that she was not paid for time traveling between client
appointments. (Mot. at 123 (citing Compl. ¶¶ 24,
31, 37).) THC argues that Askew's time sheets, which she
herself completed and submitted, show that she was fully paid
and that there were no write-offs for travel. (Id.
at 121.) THC argues that Askew's time sheets “show
that [she] worked almost exclusively with one client at a
time for the entire duration of each shift.”
(Id. at 121-22.) Moreover, even on the few occasions
where Askew worked with more than one client, “there
are no 30 to 45 minute gaps between ‘appointments'
as [p]laintiff falsely alleges.” (Id. at 122.)
THC points to several illustrative examples in Askew's
time sheets. For instance, on July 13, July 14, and July 15,
2018, and January 23, 2019, although Askew worked with two
clients on each of those days, she remained clocked in for
her entire shift, with no gaps for travel, and was paid for
the full time each day. (Ex. B at 48-49, 74.)
in opposition, asserts that the FLSA requires compensation
for travel time under the “continuous workday
rule” if the travel itself is an indispensable part of
performing one's job. (Opp'n at 134-35.) She argues
she is not seeking compensation for driving clients but for
travel time between clients, which is permissible, in her
view. (Id. at 135.) She points to different time
sheet entries where there are gaps of between 15
minutes to 60 minutes, for which she was not paid.
(Id. at 130 (citing Ex. B at 48 (7/10/18); 50
(7/22/18); 56 (8/30/18); 74 ...