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Sikiotis v. Vitesse Worldwide Chaufeeured Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 24, 2015

TOM SIKIOTIS, Plaintiff,
v.
VITESSE WORLDWIDE CHAUFEEURED SERVICES, INC., & SHAHIN ABASPOUR Defendants

          For Louis R. Pepe, Special Master: Louis R. Pepe, LEAD ATTORNEY, McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, Hartford, CT.

         For Tom Sikiotis, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals, Plaintiff: Anthony J. Pantuso, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, Richard Eugene Hayber, Hayber Law Firm LLC, Hartford, CT.

         For Vitesse Worldwide Chaufeeured Services, Inc., Shahin Abaspour, Defendants: Michele F. Martin, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Pastore & Dailey LLC - FL, Gainsville, FL; Christopher E. Geotes, Joseph M. Pastore, III, Pastore & Dailey, LLC, Stamford, CT.

          OPINION

         Janet Bond Arterton, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Tom Sikiotis brings this action alleging willful and nonwillful[1] violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ) 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., by Defendants Vitesse Worldwide Chauffeured Services, Inc., (" Vitesse" ) and Shahin Abaspour arising out of Defendants' failure to pay Plaintiff overtime compensation at a rate of one-and-one-half times Plaintiff's regular pay for all hours worked over forty hours per week. (Am. Compl. [Doc. # 22] ¶ 12.) Defendants now move [Doc. # 26] to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied.

         I. Factual Allegations

         The factual contentions in Mr. Sikiotis' Amended Complaint allege the following: Mr. Sikiotis was employed by Defendant Vitesse, a Connecticut corporation with a principal place of business in Stamford, Connecticut. (Am. Compl. ¶ 5.) Vitesse provides limousine services through its offices located across the country. ( Id. ¶ 7.) Defendant Abaspour is the owner and President of Vitesse. ( Id. ¶ 6.) Mr. Abaspour " had the authority to set the hours of employment, hire and fire, maintain employment records, [and] to direct the work and . . . determine the rate and method of payment of wages of Sikiotis." ( Id. ) " Abaspour's exercise of that authority was the direct cause of Vitesse's failure to pay wages."

         Plaintiff was responsible for picking up and driving Defendants' customers to various locations in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. ( Id. ¶ 8.) During job assignments, Plaintiff was required to wait and be on call, was not free to engage in personal activities, had to perform various non-driving tasks including ensuring the vehicle was cleaned and serviced, and was required to be in contact with Defendants at all times. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 9, 11, 15.) As well, Plaintiff was required to be at pickup locations at least fifteen minutes before scheduled pickup times for each job assignment. ( Id. ¶ 10.)

         Plaintiff states that he customarily and regularly worked more than forty-hours per week but was not paid overtime compensation. ( Id. ¶ 12.) To illustrate typical work weeks during the period of the claim, the Amended Complaint states that in the week ending February 24, 2013, Plaintiff had a total of 21 jobs and worked at least 52 hours; in the week ending March 3, 2013, Plaintiff had a total of 17 jobs and worked at least 42 hours; and in the week ending on March 10, 2013, Plaintiff had a total of 18 jobs and worked at least 45 hours. ( Id. ¶ 13.)

         Because Plaintiff received all of his job assignments through Defendants' dispatchers, Defendants " knew or should have known" that Plaintiff worked over forty hours per week, and a reasonable investigation by Defendants would have revealed that limousine drivers were entitled to overtime pay because the SAFETEA-LY Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (" Corrections Act" ), enacted June 6, 2008, removed limousine drivers like Plaintiff who crossed state lines from coverage of the Motor Carrier Exemption to FLSA. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 16, 17). Nonetheless, Defendants took no steps to ensure their compliance with the widely-publicized Act and the FLSA.

         II. Discussion[2]

         A. Pleading Overtime Violations Under the FLSA

         Under the FLSA, an employee bringing an action for unpaid overtime wages has the burden of proving that she performed work for which she was not properly compensated. See Grochowski v. Phoenix Constr., Ypsilon Constr. Corp., 318 F.3d 80, 87 (2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery Co., 328 U.S. 680, 687, 66 S.Ct. 1187, 90 L.Ed. 1515 (1946)). To succeed on a FLSA overtime claim, an employee must show that: (1) she was eligible for overtime (i.e., not exempt from the Act's overtime pay requirements); and (2) she actually worked overtime hours for which she was not compensated. See 29 U.S.C. § 207(a); Hosking v. New World Mortgage, Inc., 602 F.Supp.2d 441, 447 (E.D.N.Y. 2009). Defendants do not challenge Mr. Sikiotis' eligibility for overtime compensation. Rather, they maintain that he has failed to state a plausible overtime violation under the FLSA because he has not adequately alleged that he worked compensable overtime hours for which he was not compensated.

         Both parties rely on Lundy v. Catholic Health Sys. of Long Island Inc., 711 F.3d 106 (2d Cir. 2013) and Nakahata v. New York-Presbyterian Healthcare Sys., Inc., 723 F.3d 192 (2d Cir. 2013), in which the Second Circuit addressed the degree of pleading specificity required for FLSA overtime claims. The Lundy plaintiffs, a respiratory therapist and two nurses, brought a class action alleging that the Catholic Health System of Long Island Inc., " failed to compensate them adequately for time worked during meal breaks, before and after scheduled shifts, and during required training sessions" in violation of various statutes including the FLSA. 711 F.3d at 109. Recognizing divergency within the Circuit and in sister circuits as to the level of factual detail necessary to state a plausible claim for overtime compensation under the FLSA, Lundy established a baseline: " We conclude that in order to state a plausible FLSA overtime claim, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given workweek as well as some uncompensated time in excess of the 40 hours." Id. (citing 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1)). While Lundy did not require the plaintiffs to plead an ...


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