Murphy et al v. Labor Source, LLC et al

COMPLAINT against BluSky Restoration Contractors, LLC, Labor Source, LLC (filing fee $ 400, receipt number AMNDC-7013455) filed by Marcquise Murphy, Ratanya Rogers. Filer requests summons issued.

District of Minnesota, mnd-0:2019-cv-01929

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CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 1 of 45 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA MARCQUISE MURPHY and) RATANYA ROGERS, Individually) and on behalf of all others similarly) situated,)) Plaintiffs,) COLLECTIVE AND CLASS ACTION) v.) 19-cv-01929 CASE NO. ___________________) LABOR SOURCE, LLC d/b/a/) JURY TRIAL DEMANDED CATSTAFF d/b/a ONE SOURCE) STAFFING AND LABOR, and) BLUSKY RESTORATION) CONTRACTORS, LLC,))) Defendants.) CLASS AND COLLECTIVE ACTION COMPLAINT Plaintiffs Marcquise Murphy and Ratanya Rogers, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), by their attorneys Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP and Berger & Montague P.C., bring the following action for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, and other state law claims. Plaintiffs state the following against Defendants: I. INTRODUCTION 1. Plaintiffs bring this collective and class action on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated individuals who have worked for Labor Source, LLC d/b/a/ Catstaff d/b/a One Source Staffing and Labor ("One Source"), and BluSky Restoration Contractors, LLC ("BluSky") (together, "Defendants") as non-exempt Manual Laborers. Plaintiffs and -1- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 2 of 45 the putative Class and Collective Members challenge Defendants' minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. ("FLSA"), as well as the wage, hour, labor, and other applicable laws of the States of Minnesota, including the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, Minn. Stat. § 177.21 et seq. ("MFLSA") and the Minnesota Payment of Wages Act, Minn. Stat. § 181.01 et seq. ("MPWA"). 2. As manual laborers, Plaintiffs and the putative Class and Collective Members were and are1 non-exempt employees under federal and state wage and hour laws, and should receive minimum wage and overtime pay consistent with the requirements of those laws. However, Defendants do not pay their manual laborers minimum wage and overtime as required by law. Instead, Defendants fraudulently misrepresent the actual number of hours worked by their manual laborers and make improper deductions from wages, thereby robbing said employees of pay at the applicable minimum wage and at time-and-a-half for overtime hours worked. These employees perform substantially the same job duties and responsibilities, and are compensated pursuant to the same company policies. They are similarly situated under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). 3. Plaintiffs sue on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated laborers who have worked and are currently working for Defendants, and who elect to opt into this action pursuant to the collective action provision of the FLSA. This action claims that 1 Upon information and belief, Defendants' illegal policies and practices as alleged herein continue to be followed and are ongoing despite Plaintiffs' use of the past tense regarding their employment with Defendants. Therefore, Plaintiffs use the present tense throughout the Complaint where applicable. -2- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 3 of 45 Defendants have violated and continue to violate the wage-and-hour provisions of the FLSA by depriving Plaintiffs, as well as those similarly situated to Plaintiff, of their lawful minimum wage and overtime wages. 4. The national FLSA Collective ("Collective"), represented by Plaintiffs Murphy and Rogers, is comprised of all people who are or have been employed by Defendants as manual laborers and whose hours were misrepresented by Defendants, within the United States within three years prior to this action's filing date through the final disposition of this action (the "Class Period"). 5. Plaintiffs and all similarly situated employees who elect to participate in this action seek unpaid compensation, an equal amount in liquidated damages and/or prejudgment interest, attorneys' fees, and costs pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). 6. Plaintiffs also bring this action under the Minnesota wage and hour statutes. The Minnesota Class, represented by Plaintiffs Murphy and Rogers, is comprised of all people who are or have been employed by Defendants and who were subjected to the fraudulent time reduction scheme described herein within the State of Minnesota within the Class Period. Plaintiffs intend to seek class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the Minnesota Class. 7. Plaintiffs and the Minnesota Class Members seek unpaid wages and restitution pursuant to Minnesota minimum wage and overtime laws, as well as liquidated damages, statutory penalties, reimbursement of unlawful deductions, prejudgment interest, attorneys' fees, and costs as allowed by Minnesota state law. 8. Accordingly, the above-named Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of -3- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 4 of 45 themselves and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons who have worked as manual laborers for Defendants in Minnesota ("the Class Members") for statutory violations that stem from these wage violations. II. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 9. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because the action involves a federal statute, the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. 10. This Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' Minnesota state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 because these claims derive from a common nucleus of operative fact. 11. Venue in the District of Minnesota is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a substantial part of the unlawful conduct described herein occurred on work sites within Minnesota. 12. Defendants are subject to personal jurisdiction in this District because Defendants are foreign corporations that conduct substantial and continuous commercial activities in Minnesota. Defendants operated work sites within Minnesota on which Plaintiffs, Collective Members, and Class Members provided their labor. Defendants contract with residents and businesses within Minnesota for the services provided by their manual labor workforce. 13. This Court is empowered to issue a declaratory judgment and further relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2202. -4- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 5 of 45 III. THE PARTIES 14. Plaintiff Marcquise Murphy is a resident of Chicago, Illinois. From approximately August 2017 to October 2017, Plaintiff Murphy worked for Defendants as a manual laborer and non-commercial driver in the States of Minnesota and Illinois. 15. Plaintiff Ratanya Rogers is a resident of Chicago, Illinois. From approximately August 2017 to November 2017, Plaintiff Rogers worked for Defendants as a manual laborer in the State of Minnesota. 16. The Collective Members are all people who are or have been employed by Defendants as manual laborers in the United States within the Class Period (three years prior to the filing of this Complaint until final disposition). 17. The Minnesota Class Members are all non-exempt employees who are or have been employed by Defendants in the State of Minnesota within the Class Period. 18. Defendant Labor Source, LLC d/b/a Catstaff d/b/a One Source Staffing and Labor is a foreign corporation with locations in various states throughout the country, with its principal office located in Olathe, Kansas. One Source is a staffing agency and hires workers who perform work in various states in the Country, including Minnesota and Illinois. One Source may be served with process through its Registered Agent, Spenserv, Inc., located at 9401 Indian Creek Parkway Building 40, Suite 700, Overland Park, Kansas 66210. 19. Defendant BluSky Restoration Contractors, LLC is a foreign corporation doing business in Minnesota, with its principal place of business in Centennial, Colorado. Process may be served in its registered agent, Chelsey Martine, 2345 Rice Street, Suite -5- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 6 of 45 230, Roseville, Minnesota 55113 20. At all material times, Defendants were and are legally responsible for all the unlawful conduct, policies, acts, and omissions as described and set forth in this Complaint, as the joint employers of Plaintiffs, the Collective, and the Class Members. 21. At all material times, Defendants have been and are governed by and subject to the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. 22. At all material times, Defendants have been and are employers within the meaning of section 3(d) of the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. § 203(d). 23. At all material times, Defendants have been and are enterprises within the meaning of section 3(r). 29 U.S.C. § 203(r). 24. At all material times, Defendants have been and are enterprises or enterprises in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce within the meaning of section 3(s)(1) of the FLSA because Defendants have had and continue to have employees engaged in commerce. 29 U.S.C. § 203(s)(1). 25. At all material times, the unlawful conduct against Plaintiffs, the Collective, and Class Members as described in this Complaint was actuated, in whole or in part, by a purpose to serve Defendants. At all relevant times, upon information and belief, the unlawful conduct described in this Complaint was reasonably foreseeable by Defendants and committed under actual or apparent authority granted by Defendants such that all aforementioned unlawful conduct is legally attributable to Defendants. 26. At all material times, Defendants have had an annual gross business volume of not less than $500,000. Likewise, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 177.24, Subd. 1(1), -6- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 7 of 45 Defendants are "large employers" because they are an enterprise whose annual gross volume of sales made or business done is not less than $500,000 and are covered by the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, sections 177.21 to 177.35. 27. At all material times, Defendant BluSky and One Source were and are joint employers under the FLSA. IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS 28. Defendant One Source is a staffing company that recruits and assigns workers to other companies. One Source operates in various states across the U.S., including Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and New York. 29. Defendant BluSky is in the business of providing manual labor services for restoration and environmental services. BluSky contracted with One Source to provide manual laborers to BluSky for restoration projects in various work sites, including in Minnesota. 30. Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members perform manual labor services for Defendants, at various work sites for restoration projects. 31. Each of Defendants' worksites are overseen by a lead boss (the "lead"), who unilaterally keeps track of the hours worked by Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members and has Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members sign a time sheet at the end of their shift. 32. Defendants, however, fabricate, manipulate and fraudulently reduce the hours recorded worked by Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members, resulting in vast underpayment of wages and unreported hours worked. Plaintiff Murphy witnessed -7- CASE 0:19-cv-01929-MJD-ECW Document 1 Filed 07/23/19 Page 8 of 45 BluSky leads fabricate time sheets altogether. In addition, there were times when Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members received paychecks even though BluSky had not submitted their time sheets to One Source at all. Compensation provided to Plaintiffs and the Class and Collective Members is not paid finally, unconditionally, free and clear of deductions and/or kickbacks. Defendants require Plaintiffs and Class and Collective Members to incur numerous work-related expenses and/or improperly deduct