United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Arturo Pinto, sues Defendants, The Reserve at Opelika;
Brookhaven Management Group, LLC; Joshua Lapides; St. Jean
Clermont TIC, LLC; and St. Jean, TIC II, LLC,  in an eight-count
Amended Complaint alleging discrimination based on race and
national origin, retaliation, violations of the Fair Labor
Standards Act, and state law wage claims. (Doc. 32). Before
the court are Motions to Dismiss filed by the Defendants.
(Docs. 33, 42). The matters have been fully briefed by the
parties, and the court heard argument on September 25,
2018. For the reasons that follow, the court
grants the motions to dismiss (Docs. 33, 42)
and allows Plaintiff leave to amend as set forth below.
jurisdiction of the court is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331, 1343(4), 2201 and 2202 and pursuant to the
Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §
201, et seq. St. Jean Clermont TIC, LLC and St.
Jean, TIC II, LLC (the "St. Jean Defendants")
contest personal jurisdiction.
Background and Statement of Facts
Arturo Pinto, is a Hispanic male born in Honduras and
employed by one or more of the Defendants to work as a
carpenter at a location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, beginning
in July 2015. (Doc. 32, ¶¶ 17-19). He alleges that
Defendant, The Reserve at Opelika, is an Alabama corporation
and that Brookhaven Management Group, LLC d/b/a The Reserve
at Opelika ("Brookhaven") is a New Jersey company
doing business in the State of Alabama. Id.
¶¶ 11-12. Both entities employ more than fifteen
employees. Id. Defendant Joshua Lapides is the owner
of Brookhaven and was responsible for supervising the
day-to-day activities of Plaintiff while he worked for
Defendants in Louisiana and Alabama. Id. ¶ 13.
Plaintiff alleges the St. Jean Defendants are registered in
Delaware but do business in the State of Alabama and employ
more than fifteen employees. Id.¶¶ 14-15.
period of time in 2015 and/or 2016, Plaintiff lived in an
apartment complex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana owned by the St.
Jean Defendants while he worked for Defendants. Id.
¶¶ 20-21. Defendant Lapides was employed by the St.
Jean Defendants to supervise Plaintiff and other employees.
Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff worked as a carpenter for
Defendants in Louisiana and Alabama. Id. ¶ 24.
On January 4, 2016, Lapides transferred Plaintiff from
Louisiana to an apartment in Opelika, Alabama, which was
owned by The Reserve at Opelika and operated by Brookhaven.
Id. ¶ 25. As part of the transfer, Defendants
promised Plaintiff an increase in his hourly rate, a $100.00
per week per diem, and a rent-free apartment. Id.
¶¶ 42, 44, 46. According to Plaintiff, Defendants
did not provide any of the benefits promised. Id.
¶¶ 43, 45, 48.
assigned job duties to Plaintiff such that he worked alone
and apart from the other workers. Id. ¶ 49.
Plaintiff complained to Saul Williams about his workload, the
difference in his pay and benefits compared to
African-American employees, and his isolation
issues. Id. ¶ 52. He was the only
Hispanic employed by Defendants. Id. ¶ 50.
Plaintiff worked continuously for Defendants under the
supervision of Lapides. Id. ¶ 29. Defendants
terminated Plaintiff on March 3, 2016. Id. ¶
30. Shortly after Plaintiffs termination, Defendants placed a
non-Hispanic male in Plaintiffs former position. Id.
eight-count amended complaint, Plaintiff sues Defendants for
violations of Title VII (Counts 1 and 2) and 42 U.S.C. §
1981 (Counts 3 and 4) on the basis of race and national
origin, for Title VII (Count 5) and Section 1981 (Count 6)
retaliation claims, and for violations of the Fair Labor
Standards Act (Count 7) and unpaid wages (Count 8). (Doc.
32). He seeks injunctive, equitable, and monetary relief.
Id. at 17-18.
Jean Defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint arguing
that no allegations establish they are Plaintiffs employer
under the FLSA, Title VII, or Section 1981. These Defendants
dispute the court's personal jurisdiction over them or
that venue is proper because they do not transact business in
Alabama, do not employ individuals in Alabama, do not own
real estate in Alabama, and do not maintain an office in
Alabama, . Additionally, they claim that Plaintiff has failed
to satisfy the administrative prerequisites to assert a Title
VII claim. Procedurally, these Defendants claim that the
amended complaint suffers from the same deficiencies of being
a shotgun pleading as the initial complaint in that Plaintiff
fails to identify which factual allegations and claims are
directed to which Defendants. (Doc. 33).
Reserve at Opelika, Brookhaven and Lapides also move to
dismiss the amended complaint arguing The Reserve at Opelika
is not a proper entity to be sued, the amended complaint is
untimely, Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies, the Plaintiffs amended complaint is legally
deficient, Plaintiff fails to allege these Defendants
employed him for purposes of his FLSA and state law wage
claims, and Plaintiffs shotgun allegations make it impossible
for Defendants to decipher which allegations are being
asserted against which Defendants. (Docs. 42, 43). Plaintiff
filed responses in opposition and Defendants replied. (Docs.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 provides that a complaint must
contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The pleader must allege "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). "Retailed factual allegations" are not
required, but mere "labels and conclusions" or
"a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action" are not enough. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). On a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court "accept[s] the
allegations in the complaint as true and construes] them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Hill v.
White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003).