Fronda v. Staffmark Holdings, Inc. et al

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-02315

ORDER by Judge Maria-Elena James granting {{7}} Motion to Dismiss; granting {{10}} Motion to Dismiss. Second Amended Complaint due 7/13/2015

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 EARL FRONDA, 8 Case No. 15-cv-02315-MEJ Plaintiff, 9 ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS v. 10 Re: Dkt. Nos. 7, 10 STAFFMARK HOLDINGS, INC., et al., 11 Defendants. 12 Northern District of California United States District Court 13 14 BACKGROUND 15 On April 17, 2015, Plaintiff Earl Fronda ("Plaintiff") initiated this putative class action 16 wage and hour lawsuit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, captioned Earl 17 Fronda, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. Staffmark Holdings, Inc.; CEVA 18 Logistics U.S., Inc., LLC, and Does 1-50, Case No. RG15766849. Not. of Removal, 19 Ex. A (Compl.), Dkt. No. 1-1. On May 19, 2015, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. Id., 20 Ex. B ("FAC"), Dkt. No. 1-2. On May 22, 2015, Defendant CEVA Logistics U.S., Inc. timely 21 removed this matter from the Alameda Superior Court to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, 22 as amended by the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Dkt. No. 1. 23 Staffmark and CEVA both seek dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 12(b)(6).1 Dkt. No. 7 (CEVA Motion); Dkt. No. 10 (Staffmark Motion). The Court finds these 25 matters suitable for disposition without oral argument and VACATES the July 23, 2015 hearing. 26 See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b); Civil L.R. 7-1(b). 27 1 28 On June 12, 2015, the Court dismissed Defendant, LLC pursuant to stipulation. Dkt. No. 28. 1 LEGAL STANDARD 2 Under Rule 12(b)(6), a party may file a motion to dismiss based on the failure to state a 3 claim upon which relief may be granted. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of a 4 complaint as failing to allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." 5 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A facial plausibility standard is not a 6 "probability requirement" but mandates "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted 7 unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations and citations 8 omitted). For purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court "accept[s] factual 9 allegations in the complaint as true and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to the 10 non-moving party." Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 11 2008). "[D]ismissal may be based on either a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of 12 sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Johnson v. Riverside Healthcare Sys., Northern District of California United States District Court 13 534 F.3d 1116, 1121 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations and citations omitted); see also Neitzke v. 14 Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989) ("Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes a court to dismiss a claim on the 15 basis of a dispositive issue of law."). 16 Even under the liberal pleading standard of Rule 8(a)(2), under which a party is only 17 required to make "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to 18 relief," a "pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of 19 a cause of action will not do.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). 20 "[C]onclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to 21 dismiss." Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004); see also Starr v. Baca, 652 22 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) ("[A]llegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply 23 recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts 24 to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively"). The court must 25 be able to "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." 26 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief. . . 27 [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and 28 common sense." Id. at 679. 2 1 If a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is granted, the "court should grant leave to amend even if no 2 request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly 3 be cured by the allegation of other facts." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127 (9th Cir. 2000) (en 4 banc) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, the Court may deny leave to 5 amend for a number of reasons, including "undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of 6 the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue 7 prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [and] futility of 8 amendment." Eminence Capital, LLC v. Aspeon, Inc., 316 F.3d 1048, 1052 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing 9 Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). 10 DISCUSSION 11 Plaintiff alleges seven causes of action on behalf of himself and a number of putative 12 classes, including: (1) failure to provide meal periods in violation of California Labor Code Northern District of California United States District Court 13 sections 204, 223, 226.7, 512 and 1198; (2) failure to pay hourly and overtime wages in violation 14 of Labor Code sections 223, 510, 1194, 1194.2, 1197, 1197.1 and 1198; (3) failure to provide 15 accurate written wage statements in violation of Labor Code section 226; (4) failure to timely pay 16 final wages in violation of Labor Code sections 201, 202 and 203; (5) "pay card claim" in 17 violation of Labor Code section 212; (6) unfair competition in violation of California Business and 18 Professions Code section 17200; and (7) civil penalties in violation of Labor Code section 2698. 19 FAC ¶¶ 22-101. 20 Although Plaintiff's FAC is twenty pages long and contains 101 paragraphs, he provides 21 nothing more than vague, conclusory allegations unsupported by any facts. With three different 22 corporations named as Defendants, Plaintiff does not delineate which facts apply to which 23 Defendants in any respect, how Defendants interacted with one another, in what manner each 24 Defendant controlled Plaintiff's work, or the work performed by the putative class members. 25 Plaintiff fails to even allege what Defendants do or what job position Plaintiff held with each 26 company. Rather, Plaintiff vaguely alleges that "each Defendant acted in all respects pertinent to 27 this action as the agent of the other Defendants, carried out a joint scheme, business, plan or policy 28. . . and that the acts of each Defendant are legally attributable to each of the other Defendants." 3 1 FAC ¶ 10. Such vague and conclusory allegations are not entitled to the assumption of truth and 2 must be disregarded. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Further, Plaintiff's causes of action lack "facial 3 plausibility" because Plaintiff has not alleged factual content that would allow the Court to draw 4 the reasonable inference that Defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 678-79 5 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Accordingly, the Court finds dismissal appropriate. 6 However, because Plaintiff's pleading could be cured by the allegation of specific facts in 7 support of his claims, the Court shall permit Plaintiff leave to amend to plead his causes of action 8 with more detail. If Plaintiff chooses to file a second amended complaint, he must allege: (1) facts 9 regarding the nature of his employment, such as where, when, by whom, and in what job(s) he was 10 employed, as well as providing similar information for the putative class members; and (2) facts 11 supporting his claims as to each named Defendant's violation(s) of the enumerated statutory 12 provisions. Northern District of California United States District Court 13 CONCLUSION 14 For the reasons stated above, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motions to Dismiss WITH 15 LEAVE TO AMEND. Plaintiff shall file a second amended complaint by July 13, 2015. 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 18 Dated: June 22, 2015 19 ______________________________________ MARIA-ELENA JAMES 20 United States Magistrate Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4