United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Nathaniel Seals is a former employee of Defendant Sylacauga
City School Board (the “Board”). Mr. Seals filed
this lawsuit, alleging that the Board failed to pay him
overtime wages as required under the Fair Labor Standards Act
the court is the Board's motion to dismiss Mr.
Seals's complaint. (Doc. 3). For the reasons explained
below, the court DENIES the motion to
stage, the court must accept as true the factual allegations
in the complaint and construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Butler v. Sheriff of Palm
Beach Cty., 685 F.3d 1261, 1265 (11th Cir. 2012). The
court also may consider documents attached to a motion to
dismiss if they are central to the plaintiff's claims and
the authenticity of the documents is not challenged. Day
v. Taylor, 400 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2005). The
Board attached to its motion to dismiss a March 7, 2016
letter from Mr. Seals to the Superintendent of the Board
expressing Mr. Seals's intention to retire effective July
1, 2016 and a March 16, 2016 letter from the Superintendent
approving Mr. Seals's retirement. (Doc. 3 at 8-0). The
documents are central to Mr. Seals's claim, and he has
not challenged their authenticity. Therefore, the court's
description of the facts incorporates Mr. Seals's
allegations and the content of the documents attached to the
Board's motion to dismiss.
Board employed Mr. Seals as a Transportation Supervisor or
Transportation Foreman until his resignation in July 2016.
(Doc. 1 at ¶ 10; Doc. 3 at 8-9). According to the
complaint, Mr. Seals performed managerial and non-managerial
duties without overtime compensation. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 12).
Mr. Seals alleges that he performed managerial duties for
approximately 20 to 30 hours per week. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 5).
He spent the remainder of his time performing non-managerial
duties which included cleaning, maintaining, and driving
school buses. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 5).
complaint alleges that for at least three years prior to the
filing of the complaint, the Board “has had a policy
and practice of consistently requiring its alleged managerial
employees, ” including Mr. Seals, “to work 50 to
60 hour[s] per week for a salaried amount without additional
overtime compensation.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 5). The
complaint also alleges that for at least three years, the
Board has been aware of “the requirements of the FLSA
and its corresponding regulations necessary to provide
managerial employees with overtime compensation, ” and
that the Board has intentionally failed or refused to pay Mr.
Seals pursuant to the provisions of the FLSA. (Doc. 1 at
¶¶ 13, 15).
Board moves to dismiss Mr. Seals's complaint, arguing
that the complaint is barred as a matter of law by the
applicable statute of limitations.
“[a] pleading that states a claim for relief 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). “To survive a motion to dismiss,
the plaintiff must plead ‘a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Butler, 685 F.3d
at 1265 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (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).
statute of limitations bar is an affirmative defense, and a
plaintiff is not required to negate an affirmative defense in
his complaint. La Grasta v. First Union Securities,
Inc., 358 F.3d 840, 845 (11th Cir. 2004). Therefore,
“[d]ismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) on statute of limitations grounds is appropriate
only if it is apparent from the face of the complaint that
the claim is time-barred.” Tello v. Dean Witter
Reynolds, Inc., 410 F.3d 1275, 1288 (11th Cir. 2005)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
claims seeking unpaid overtime wages under the FLSA are
subject to a two-year statute of limitations. 29 U.S.C.
§ 255(a). However, claims based on a willful violation
of the statute are subject to a three-year statute of
limitations. Id. Mr. Seals filed this lawsuit on
January 28, 2019. (Doc. 1). Therefore, any claim based on
alleged violations that accrued before January 28, 2017 is
time-barred, unless the claim is based on a willful violation
of the statute, in which case the claim is time-barred if it
accrued before January 28, 2016. (See Doc. 3 at
Board appears to argue that any claim for a non-willful
violation of the FLSA is automatically barred because Mr.
Seals was last employed with the Board effective July 1,
2016. (Doc. 3 at 2, ¶ 2, citing Doc. 3 at 8-9). The date
of an employee's termination is irrelevant to the
applicable limitations period for an FLSA claim because an
employer violates the FLSA “each time the [employer]
[the] plaintiff a paycheck that fail[s] to include payment
for overtime hours actually worked, ” and “each
failure to pay overtime begins a new statute of limitations
period as to that particular event.” Knight v.
Columbus, Ga., 19 F.3d 579, 581-82 (11th Cir. 1994);
see also 29 C.F.R. § 790.21(b) (“[A]
cause of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act for unpaid
minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation and for
liquidated damages ‘accrues' when the ...