United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
STEFHANY E. RODRIGUEZ Plaintiff,
AMERICA'S FAVORITE CHICKEN COMPANY, INC. d/b/a CHURCH'S CHICKEN, an Alabama Foreign Corp, Defendant.
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Stefhany Rodriguez sued Yum Enterprises LLC, Cajun Global
LLC, and Cajun Operating Company Inc., alleging in Counts I
and II these entities violated the Fair Labor Standards Act
by failing to pay her minimum wage and compensate her for
overtime pay. Ms. Rodriguez also alleges in Count III that
the Defendants failed to properly supervisor her manager,
Michelle Irene Roberts, who assaulted her at work. Yum
Enterprises moved to dismiss the negligent supervision claim.
(Doc. 16). Cajun Global and Cajun Operating Company, the
franchisor defendants, moved to dismiss the complaint in its
entirety. (Doc. 20). Because Counts I and II fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted against the
Franchisors and the court lacks jurisdiction over Count III,
the court will grant both motions.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of
the complaint. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require
the complaint to provide "a short and plain statement of
the claim” demonstrating that the plaintiff is entitled
to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). A plaintiff must provide the
grounds of his entitlement, but Rule 8 rarely requires
"detailed factual allegations. "Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Rule 8 does,
however, "demand[ ] more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully -harmed-me accusation."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Pleadings that contain nothing more than "a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action" do not
meet Rule 8 standards nor do pleadings suffice that are based
merely upon "labels or conclusions" or "naked
assertions" without supporting factual allegations.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557.
Supreme Court explained that A[t]o survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief plausible
on its face.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting and explaining its decision in Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). To be plausible the claim must contain enough
facts that "allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Although
'[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a'
probability requirement, '" the complaint must
demonstrate "more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully." Id."
Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent
with a defendant's liability, it' stops short of the
line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court has identified "two working
principles" for the district court to use in applying
the facial plausibility standard. The court must assume the
veracity of well-pleaded factual allegations;
however, the court need not accept as true legal conclusions
even when "couched as  factual allegation[s]" or
"threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The second principle is that
"only a complaint that states a plausible claim for
relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id. at
679. Under prong one, the court determines the factual
allegations that are well-pleaded and assumes their veracity,
and then proceeds, under prong two, to determine the
claim's plausibility given the well-pleaded facts. That
task is "context-specific" and, to survive the
motion, the allegations must permit the court based on its
"judicial experience and common sense . . . to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct."
Id. If the court determines that well-pleaded facts,
accepted as true, state no plausible claim, the claim must be
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS
Rodriguez's amended complaint alleges three causes of
action against all Defendants: (1) a violation of the FLSA
for failure to pay overtime pay; (2) a violation of the FLSA
for failure to pay minimum wage; and (3) negligent
supervision under Alabama state law.
support those claims, Ms. Rodriguez alleges these facts.
Church's Chicken in Alabaster, Alabama employed Ms.
Rodriguez as a counter customer service employee from August
22, 2014 until September 5, 2015. Yum Enterprises operates
the Church's Chicken under a franchise agreement with
Cajun Global and Cajun Operating Company.
Rodriguez alleges that she often worked over forty hours
during a week but did not receive overtime pay. Ms. Rodriguez
claims she is owed $2, 632 in back-pay for 120 unpaid
overtime hours, and that she was forced to work while not on
the clock and received no compensation for that work.
Further, Ms. Rodriguez alleges that she was paid in cash and
that no taxes were withheld from her pay. These practices,
Ms. Rodriguez claims, violated FLSA.
September 5, 2015, Ms. Rodriguez alleges that her supervisor,
Ms. Roberts, attacked her. Ms. Roberts placed Ms.
Rodriguez's in a chokehold, suffocated her, threw Ms.
Rodriguez to the floor and struck her face. Ms. Rodriguez
required treatment for her injuries at a local hospital.
Rodriguez alleges that the Defendants knew that Ms. Roberts
was trouble. The complaint claims that the Defendants knew
Ms. Roberts "was managing employees with an iron fist,
making routine threats, making disparaging comments to
employees, and had made various verbal threats to harm
employees." (Doc. 12 at & 33). Further, Ms.
Rodriguez claims the Defendants knew Ms. Roberts
"displayed a violent method of managing subordinate