United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston
ANGELA UNDERWOOD, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
KC TRANSPORT, INC., d/b/a KC TRANSPORT OF WEST VIRGINIA, INC., a West Virginia Corporation, and KENNY COMPTON, a West Virginia resident, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. COPENHAVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court is defendant KC Transport, Inc.'s motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim, filed on May 22,
2017. KC Transport submitted a supporting memorandum, and
plaintiff responded in opposition.
April 16, 2017, plaintiff filed her complaint asserting a
claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §
201 et seq. (“FLSA”) for unpaid overtime wages,
arising from her past employment as a truck driver with KC
Transport. On behalf of herself and fifty similarly situated
employees, plaintiff also requested certification of a
the allegations in the complaint as true, as the court must
at this stage, Ms. Underwood often worked more than sixty
hours per week and was not informed whether she was exempt
from overtime wages under the FLSA. Even though she was not
exempt from the overtime-pay requirement, she was treated as
an exempt employee and paid a salary. Thus, she was not paid
overtime pay that she was due for work in excess of forty
hours per week.
course of her employment, Ms. Underwood did not drive across
state lines, nor did her job duties incorporate an
expectation for her to do so.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleader
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing ... entitle[ment] to relief.” Rule 12(b)(6)
permits a defendant to challenge a complaint when it
“fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” In order to survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint “must contain enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
required “short and plain statement” must provide
“‘fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Twombly, 127 S.Ct.
1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957), overruled on other grounds, Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at
1969); see also Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 508 F.3d 181, 188
(4th Cir. 2007). Additionally, the showing of an
“entitlement to relief” amounts to “more
than labels and conclusions . . . .” Twombly, 127 S.Ct.
at 1965. It is now settled that “a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Id.; Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 304 (4th
Transport's affirmative defense is not a suitable ground
for dismissal at this stage
Transport argues that the complaint should be dismissed
because it, and the work performed by plaintiff, are exempt
from the overtime-pay provisions of the FLSA pursuant to the
motor carrier exemption, 29 U.S.C. § 213(b)(1).
exemption covers employees whose activities “affect
safety of operation” and who work for a private motor
carrier engaged in interstate commerce. See Truitt v. Stavola
Bros., Inc., 107 F.3d 1104, 1106-07 (4th Cir. 1997). The
parties disagree on whether Ms. Underwood satisfies the
interstate-commerce prong of the analysis and, therefore,
whether the exemption applies to her, barring a FLSA claim.
Underwood notes, if the court were to consider the affidavit
attached to the motion to dismiss, it would have to convert
it to a motion for summary judgment. Given the early stage of
the litigation and the probability that discovery will bring
out further relevant information, this the court will not do.