United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
Charles Lloyd (“Lloyd”), brings an action against
Defendant, Compass Group USA, Inc. (“Compass”),
for breach of contract. He alleges that Compass reneged on a
promise to him that he would continue to be paid hourly and
be eligible for overtime in his new position as Executive
Chef at Bateman Community Living, LLC
(“Bateman”). More specifically, Lloyd claims that
since starting work at Bateman, he has been paid a flat
salary and designated exempt from overtime pay. Compass
asserts that a subsequent purchaser of Bateman, Elior Inc.
(“Elior”) changed how Lloyd's position is
compensated. It seeks dismissal of Lloyd's claim on the
grounds that it cannot be liable for the actions of a third
party. This Memorandum of Decision and Order addresses
Defendant Compass Group USA, Inc.'s Mot. To Dismiss
(Docket No. 9). For the reasons set for the below, that
motion is denied.
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court “must assume
the truth of all well-plead[ed] facts and give plaintiff the
benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.”
Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d
1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing Rogan v.
Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999)). To
survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must state a claim
that is plausible on its face. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). That
is, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level, ... on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555
(internal citations omitted). The standard “requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Dismissal
is appropriate if plaintiff's well-pleaded facts do not
“possess enough heft to show that plaintiff is entitled
to relief.” Ruiz Rivera v. Pfizer Pharm., LLC,
521 F.3d 76, 84 (1st Cir. 2008) (internal
quotations and original alterations omitted). “The
relevant inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the
inference of liability that the plaintiff is asking the court
to draw from the facts alleged in the complaint.”
Ocasio-Hernàndez v. Fortuño-Burset,
640 F.3d 1, 13 (1st Cir. 2011).
worked for Bateman as a cook from November 2004 until June of
2018. During this time period, Compass owned Bateman. Around
June 2018 James Sullivan (“Sullivan”),
Bateman's regional manager, offered Lloyd the opportunity
to run his own kitchen as an “Executive Chef” for
Bateman/Compass. Sullivan told Lloyd he would be paid hourly
and would still be eligible for overtime at his new position.
Lloyd accepted the position. Lloyd worked for Bateman/Compass
as an Executive Chef for approximately two weeks before Elior
purchased Bateman from Compass. After the purchase
Elior/Bateman informed Lloyd that they would pay him a salary
instead of hourly wages, and he would be exempt from overtime
protracted discussion of the merits of Compass's motion
to dismiss is not warranted. The primary issues with regard
to Lloyd's claim against Compass are: when was the
decision of how Lloyd would be compensated made; what entity
made that determination; and how was Lloyd compensated for
the two week period prior to the sale of Bateman to Elior.
Compass's written submissions do not address the issue of
Lloyd's compensation prior to the sale to Elior.
Moreover, at oral argument Plaintiff's counsel admitted
he was unsure of how Lloyd was paid during those two weeks.
As to the remaining issues, Compass asserts Elior made the
determination of how Lloyd would be compensated after it
purchased Bateman. While Compass puts forth a compelling
case, making this determination would require the Court to
rely on facts that are not in the Complaint and therefore,
cannot be considered on a motion to dismiss. Given that the
issues raised by Compass are likely dispositive of
Lloyd's claims against it, before expending a lot of time
and money on this case, the parties may want to consider
conducting limited discovery on these issues (a matter which
they can address at the Scheduling Conference).
Compass Group USA, Inc.'s Mot. To Dismiss ...