Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., Civil Action No. AW-07-0628.

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Maryland
Writing for the CourtAlexander Williams, Jr.
Citation532 F.Supp.2d 762
PartiesCarlos QUINTEROS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. SPARKLE CLEANING, INC., et al., Defendants.
Decision Date28 January 2008
Docket NumberCivil Action No. AW-07-0628.
532 F.Supp.2d 762
Carlos QUINTEROS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SPARKLE CLEANING, INC., et al., Defendants.
Civil Action No. AW-07-0628.
United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division.
January 28, 2008.

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Andreas N. Akaras, Akaras Law Offices, College Park, MD, Jeffery Charles Taylor, Michael J. Snider, Allan E. Feldman, Ari Taragin, Snider and Associates LLC, Baltimore, MD, for Plaintiffs.

Rebecca Newman Strandberg, Strandberg and Associates PA, Silver Spring, MD, Alisa H. Reff, Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP, Washington, DC, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ALEXANDER WILLIAMS, JR., District Judge.


Plaintiffs Carlos Quinteros, Iliana Mejia, and Pedro Santos, for themselves and others similarly situated (collectively "Plaintiffs"), have filed a complaint against Defendants Sparkle Clean, Inc. ("Sparkle"), Regal Cinemas, Inc. ("Regal"), Santos Bonilla, Dionisio Rivera, Sandra Y. Vasquez, and Jose Luis Bonilla (collectively "Defendants"), alleging violations of the overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, Md. Lab. & Empl.Code § 3-403(a)(8), and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection. Law, Md. Lab. & Empl. § 3-505, and seeking collective and class action status under these respective statutes. Currently pending before the Court are Plaintiffs' Motion for Order Under Court Supervision Permitting Notice to Employees of Their Opt-In Rights (Docket No. 2), Defendant Regal's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction and for Failure to State a Claim (Docket No. 5), and Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave of Court to File Surreply Instanter (Docket No. 17). The motions have been fully briefed, and the Court has reviewed the entire record. A hearing on these motions was held on January 18, 2008. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.2008). For the reasons stated below,

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the Court will GRANT Plaintiffs' Motion for Order Under Court. Supervision Permitting Opt-In Notice, GRANT Defendant Regal's Motion to Dismiss, and GRANT Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Surreply Instanter.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Carlos Quinteros, Plaintiff, along with several other similarly situated persons, filed a collective action suit against Defendants Sparkle, four managers of Sparkle, and Regal Cinemas. Defendant Sparkle Cleaning, Inc. ("Sparkle") is a janitorial services company that provides basic janitorial services on a permanent basis (i.e. emptying trash bins, vacuuming, etc.) as well as provides services on a per job basis, which it calls "special projects." For these "special projects," Sparkle has signed subcontract agreements with individuals to perform this type of work. When a "special project" would come along, Sparkle would contact its subcontractors to see if they were interested and available to work. These subcontractors, who would own their own equipment, could accept or decline any job. Sparkle has provided commercial cleaning services to various customers, including Regal Cinemas ("Regal"). In support of its contracts with Regal, Sparkle sends cleaning crews to individual movie theaters located in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Plaintiffs, current and former employees of Sparkle, perform cleaning, janitorial, and maintenance services, and which have been rendered at Regal, Cinemas. Plaintiffs customarily drive Sparkle's vehicles to various movie theaters and begin their work shifts in the late evenings, around 11:00pm, after the theaters have closed, and remain there until the morning around 10:30am. Their tasks include, among other things, cleaning carpets, theater seats, bathrooms and other areas of the cinemas. Plaintiffs allege that their work is overseen by Regal's employees, who also direct Plaintiffs cleaning activities. Plaintiffs further allege in their complaint that both Sparkle and Regal are aware that Plaintiffs work more than forty hours per week and neither pays them proper overtime wages for their overtime work. Plaintiffs also allege in their complaint that they were not compensated for their time during travel and that they have to work through their breaks. Finally, Plaintiffs contend that Sparkle and Regal carry on a common scheme that unlawfully, deprives Plaintiffs of their full wages.

On March 13, 2007, Plaintiffs filed their complaint in this Court against both Defendants. Along with their complaint, Plaintiffs also filed a Motion for an Order Under Court Supervision Permitting Notice to Employees of their Opt-In Rights, pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. In response, Defendant Sparkle Med an Opposition Response to Plaintiffs' Motion. Also, Defendant Regal filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6)

It is well established that a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P Rule 12(b)(6) should be denied unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). In determining whether to dismiss a complaint, a court must view the material allegations in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, with the

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alleged facts accepted as true. 2A Moore's Federal Practice, 12.07 [2.-5] (2d ed.1987); 5A Charles. A. Wright & Arthur Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1357, at 304-21 (1990). Moreover, the allegations will be construed liberally in favor of the pleader. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974). The issue in reviewing the sufficiency of the pleadings in a complaint is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but whether the, plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Id.

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(1)

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be founded on either of two bases. As with a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss may challenge subject matter, jurisdiction by demonstrating that the complaint "fails to allege facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction can be based." Russell v. Continental Restaurant Inc., 430 F.Supp.2d 521, 523 (D.Md.2006) (quoting Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir.1982)). With this type of 12(b)(1) motion, the "facts in the complaint, are assumed to be true, and the plaintiff, in effect, is afforded the same procedural protection as [it] would receive under a Rule 12(b)(6) consideration." Id. Thus, the "moving party should prevail only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law." Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac R.R. Co. v. U.S., 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir.1991). In its analysis, the court must accept as true the factual allegations in the plaintiffs complaint, and the motion should be granted only "`if it appears beyond doubt that the Plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Star Scientific, Inc. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 174 F.Supp.2d 388, 391 (D.Md.2001) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)).

In the alternative, a Rule 12(b)(1) motion may assert a lack of subject matter jurisdiction "in fact" apart from any pleading. In such cases, a court may look beyond the allegations in the complaint to determine whether any evidence supports the exercise of jurisdiction. Richmond, 945 F.2d at 768; see also Sharafeldin v. Maryland Dept. of Public Safety & Correctional Services, 94 F.Supp.2d 680, 684-85 (D.Md.2000) (when a defendant challenges subject matter jurisdiction on a motion to dismiss, the court may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting the motion to a motion for summary judgment). The district court is to regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without converting, the proceeding to one for summary judgment. Richmond, 945 F.2d at 768.

Whether the defendant attacks jurisdiction under either theory, once the issue of subject matter jurisdiction has been raised, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving that subject matter jurisdiction exists in the federal courts. Russell, 430 F.Supp.2d at 523; see also Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., a Div. of Standex Int'l Corp., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir.1999).

ANALYSIS

Plaintiffs have filed this suit for unpaid wages and overtime pay against the Defendants under the FLSA, the Maryland Wage and Hour law, and the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection law. Defendant Sparkle opposes this motion by primarily arguing that Plaintiffs are not entitled to seek court supervised notice in the absence of an employer-employee relationship. Defendant Regal, in its Motion

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to Dismiss, argues that Plaintiffs are not employees of Defendant Regal nor are they joint employers with Defendant Sparkle. Furthermore, Defendant Regal maintains that it is exempt from the overtime provisions under the FLSA and Maryland Wage and Hour Law because of the "movie theater" exemption.

To resolve Plaintiffs' first motion, the threshold issue that the Court must determine is whether the relationship status between Plaintiffs and Defendant Sparkle is that of employee employer or independent contractor.

A. Plaintiffs as "Employees" or "Independent Contractors" of Defendant Sparkle

The determination of whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor is a legal question under the FLSA. ...

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104 practice notes
  • West v. J.O. Stevenson, Inc., NO. 7:15-CV-87-FL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • February 24, 2016
    ...standard of pleading. See, e.g. , Cano v. DPNY, Inc. , 287 F.R.D. 251, 260 (S.D.N.Y.2012) ; Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc. , 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 775–76 (D.Md.2008). With these standards in mind, the court now addresses the sufficiency of plaintiff's complaint.i. Joint Employer—Civil Rig......
  • Robinson v. Affinia Grp., Inc., No. 3:10–cv–398–W.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • September 2, 2011
    ...to demonstrate that Defendants and EDS jointly employed him. See generally 29 C.F.R. § 791.2(b); Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 773–75 (D.Md.2008) (discussing tests articulated by the Fourth Circuit and other circuits for purposes of determination of joint-employmen......
  • Newell v. Runnels, No. 48, September Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 13, 2009
    ...They assert that the choice of test in this case is determinative and urge us to follow Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762 (D.Md.2008), a case in which employees of a janitorial services company sought overtime pay under the FLSA from a movie theater with which the compa......
  • Luna-Reyes v. RFI Constr., LLC, No. 1:14cv235.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • November 3, 2014
    ...economic realities of the relationship between the employee and putative employer. 57 F.Supp.3d 503Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 768 (D.Md.2008) (citing Schultz v. Capital Int'l Sec., Inc., 466 F.3d 298, 304 (4th Cir.2006) ) (“Determining whether an entity is an em......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
104 cases
  • West v. J.O. Stevenson, Inc., NO. 7:15-CV-87-FL
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Eastern District of North Carolina
    • February 24, 2016
    ...standard of pleading. See, e.g. , Cano v. DPNY, Inc. , 287 F.R.D. 251, 260 (S.D.N.Y.2012) ; Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc. , 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 775–76 (D.Md.2008). With these standards in mind, the court now addresses the sufficiency of plaintiff's complaint.i. Joint Employer—Civil Rig......
  • Robinson v. Affinia Grp., Inc., No. 3:10–cv–398–W.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Western District of North Carolina
    • September 2, 2011
    ...to demonstrate that Defendants and EDS jointly employed him. See generally 29 C.F.R. § 791.2(b); Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 773–75 (D.Md.2008) (discussing tests articulated by the Fourth Circuit and other circuits for purposes of determination of joint-employmen......
  • Newell v. Runnels, No. 48, September Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • March 13, 2009
    ...They assert that the choice of test in this case is determinative and urge us to follow Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762 (D.Md.2008), a case in which employees of a janitorial services company sought overtime pay under the FLSA from a movie theater with which the compa......
  • Luna-Reyes v. RFI Constr., LLC, No. 1:14cv235.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • November 3, 2014
    ...economic realities of the relationship between the employee and putative employer. 57 F.Supp.3d 503Quinteros v. Sparkle Cleaning, Inc., 532 F.Supp.2d 762, 768 (D.Md.2008) (citing Schultz v. Capital Int'l Sec., Inc., 466 F.3d 298, 304 (4th Cir.2006) ) (“Determining whether an entity is an em......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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