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Bagoue v. Developmental Pathways, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 25, 2017

FLAVIE BONDEH BAGOUE, and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
DEVELOPMENTAL PATHWAYS, INC. and CONTINUUM OF COLORADO, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          PHILIP A. BRIMMER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6) [Docket No. 39]. The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Defendants operate group homes focused on providing care for developmentally disabled adults. Docket No. 33 at 2, ¶ 6-7. For approximately ten years, plaintiff was employed by defendants as a life skills specialist. Id. at 1-2, ¶¶ 5-6. By the end of her employment, plaintiff's work consisted almost entirely of 56-hour shifts at the Nevada Group Home, one of several facilities operated by defendants. Id. at 2, ¶¶ 6-9.

         During plaintiff's ten-year employment, plaintiff worked under defendants' “continuous shift policy.” Id. at 3, ¶ 14. Under the continuous shift policy, defendants' employees worked approximately 56 consecutive hours before being relieved by another employee. Id. at 3, ¶ 15. Plaintiff states that she was only paid for 40 of the 56 hours she worked for each shift. Id. at 5, ¶ 30.

         Plaintiff alleges that defendants failed to adequately compensate plaintiff for certain categories of time including: time spent communicating with other workers at the beginning and end of her shifts, id. at 5, ¶¶ 34-35; sleep time, which was regularly interrupted such that plaintiff did not usually get five hours of continuous and uninterrupted sleep, id. at 9, ¶ 59; and extra time worked as a result of the change to daylight savings time. Id., ¶¶ 60-61. Plaintiff also alleges that the sleeping facilities provided by defendants were inadequate because they were not private quarters, separated from the residents of the group home. Id. at 10, ¶ 66-67. Plaintiff claims that the staff room set aside for sleeping did not have amenities for recreation, offered little privacy, was illuminated by hallway lights, and that the residents of the group home would enter her sleeping quarters without permission. Id. at 10-12, ¶¶ 66-74.

         Plaintiff states that she never entered into a formal agreement with defendants to deduct 16 hours of sleep time from her paychecks. Id. at 12, ¶ 76. Plaintiff alleges that, “on several occasions [she] objected to Defendants' failure to compensate her for the nighttime hours during her Continuous Shifts.” Id. at 13, ¶ 81.

         As a result of the foregoing conduct, plaintiff seeks relief under the Colorado Minimum Wage Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 8-4-101, et seq., and Wage Order, 7 Colo. Code Regs. § 1103-1 (first claim for relief); under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (second claim for relief); and equitable relief under Colorado law (third claim for relief). Docket No. 33 at 18-21, ¶¶ 114-135.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege enough factual matter that, taken as true, makes the plaintiff's “claim to relief . . . plausible on its face.” Bryson v. Gonzales, 534 F.3d 1282, 1286 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alteration marks omitted). Thus, even though modern rules of pleading are somewhat forgiving, “a complaint still must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.” Bryson, 534 F.3d at 1286 (alteration marks omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants raise three arguments in the motion to dismiss: first, plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts regarding uncompensated time; second, plaintiff has failed to allege that the sleeping facilities provided by defendants were inadequate; and, third, plaintiff has impliedly agreed to defendants' sleep time arrangement by working under the continuous shift policy for ten years.[2] Docket No. 39 at 12-22.

         A. Uncompensated Sleep Time

         Defendants claim that the continuous shift policy used at the Nevada Group Home is permitted by the FLSA. Docket No. 39 at 11. Specifically, defendants ...


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