United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to
Partially Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 9). For
reasons specified herein, Defendant's motion is
filed the present Complaint on April 26, 2017, alleging six
counts of liability against Defendant (ECF No. 1). Counts I
and II of the Complaint pertain to Defendant's alleged
violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (ECF
No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant interfered with his
rights under the FMLA and that Defendant discriminated
against Plaintiff because Plaintiff exercised his rights
under the FMLA (ECF No. 1).
filed the present Motion to Partially Dismiss on June 16,
2017 (ECF No. 9). In its motion, Defendant claims that it is
not subject to the requirements of the FMLA because it does
not meet the statutory definition of “employer”
as specified in the Act (ECF No. 9). In support of its
motion, Defendant included the Affidavit of Shannon Wells,
President of defendant corporation High Voltage, Inc. (ECF
No. 10-1). Wells swore in the affidavit that Defendant
“does not employ 50 or more employees” (ECF No.
10-1). Defendant argues that, because it does not employ 50
or more employees, it is not an employer subject to the
requirements of the FMLA.
response, Plaintiff argues that the number of employees
actually employed by Defendant is an issue of fact that has
yet to be determined by evidence (ECF No. 12). Accordingly,
Plaintiff asserts, it would be inappropriate and premature to
dismiss his FMLA claims against Defendant at this time (ECF
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that [he] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). The facts contained in the statement need not be
probable, but the statement must contain “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted). In
considering the plausibility of a plaintiff's claim, the
Court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as
resolving a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) . . ., a
district court cannot consider matters outside the pleadings
without converting the motion into one for summary
judgment.” Occupy Columbia v. Haley, 738 F.3d
107, 116 (4th Cir. 2013) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d)).
Accordingly, a district court may only consider documents
attached to a motion to dismiss if they are integral to the
complaint and authentic. Id. (citation omitted).
There is no uniform agreement among the circuit courts as to
whether an affidavit attached as an exhibit to a motion to
dismiss falls within this exception. Id. The Fourth
Circuit has ruled, though, that a district court may properly
decline to consider such an affidavit in order to avoid
converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment. Id. at 117.
FMLA defines “covered employer” as an employer
that employs 50 or more people. 29 C.F.R. § 825.104(a)
(2017). For Plaintiff to plead a plausible claim against
Defendant for FMLA violations, then, Plaintiff must
sufficiently allege that Defendant is a covered employer
under the FMLA's standards. Plaintiff has done so here.
In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges: “Defendant is and
was a covered employer under the FMLA, and employs 50 or more
people within 75 miles of the location where Plaintiff was
employed” (ECF No. 1). Accepting this factual
allegation as true, as is required, the Court finds that
Plaintiff has provided enough facts that his claim is
plausible on its face.
contends in its motion to dismiss that the facts Plaintiff
pled are incorrect, and that Plaintiff's claim should
therefore be dismissed (ECF No. 10). Defendant's assertions,
even though they may be true, are premature. A 12(b)(6)
motion is meant to test the sufficiency of Plaintiff's
complaint, not the substantive factual allegations contained
therein. Accordingly, the Court declines to dismiss
Plaintiff's first two claims at this time.
foregoing reasons, Defendant's Motion to Partially
Dismiss Plaintiffs ...