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Boston v. Hospital Holdings, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

June 20, 2014

BONNIE BOSTON, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
HOSPITAL HOLDINGS, INC. d/b/a FLORALA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL; DR. ROBERT DEVRNJA; and DON MUHLENTHALER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

W. HAROLD ALBRITTON, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This cause is before the court on a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #7), filed by the Defendants, Hospital Holdings, Inc.; Dr. Robert Devrnja; and Don Muhlenthaler; and on a Motion to Amend (Doc. #14) filed by the Plaintiff, Bonnie Boston.

The Plaintiff, Bonnie Boston, originally filed a Complaint in this case on April 3, 2014, bringing claims for violation of the Workers' Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง2101, et seq. ("WARN Act") and the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). The Defendants originally named in the Complaint were Hospital Holdings, Inc. d/b/a Florala Community Hospital; Dr. Robert Devrnja, and Don Muhlenthaler.

The Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion to Amend, attaching a proposed Amended Complaint brought by Bonnie Boston and Sylvia Wallace on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, and naming as Defendants the following: Hospital Holdings, Inc.; United Florala, Inc. d/b/a Florala Community Hospital;[1] Dr. Robert Devrnja; and the ERX Group, LLC. The claims include a claim under the WARN Act against Hospital Holdings and United Florala (Count One), under the FLSA against United Florala and Robert Devrnja (Count Two), a claim brought under state law for breach of contract against United Florala (Count Three), and a claim for unjust enrichment against the ERX Group, LLC (Count Four).

For reasons to be discussed, the Motion to Amend is due to be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and the Motion to Dismiss is due to be GRANTED in part, and DENIED in part as moot, with leave to be refiled.

II. RELEVANT STANDARDS

A. MOTION TO DISMISS

The court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), and construes the complaint in the plaintiff's favor, Duke v. Cleland, 5 F.3d 1399, 1402 (11th Cir. 1993).

In the context of a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in which no evidentiary hearing is held, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case of jurisdiction over the movant, non-resident defendant. Morris v. SSE, Inc., 843 F.2d 489, 492 (11th Cir. 1988) (citations omitted). A prima facie case is established if the plaintiff presents sufficient evidence to defeat a motion for a directed verdict. Morris, 843 F.2d at 492. The court must construe the allegations in the complaint as true, to the extent they are uncontroverted by defendant's affidavits or deposition testimony. Id. (citations omitted). Moreover, where the evidence presented by the parties' affidavits and deposition testimony conflicts, the court must construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant plaintiff. Delong Equip. Co. v. Washington Mills Abrasive Co., 840 F.2d 843, 845 (11th Cir.1988).

B. MOTION TO AMEND

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that leave to amend should be freely given when justice so requires. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 15(a). While discretion of whether to grant leave to amend a pleading lies with the trial court, a justifying reason must be apparent for denial of a motion to amend. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962). Grounds for refusal to amend may include undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, and futility of amendment. Id.

III. FACTS

The allegations of the Complaint and proposed Amended Complaint, and the submissions of the parties, reveal the following facts ...


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