Last summer, the Second Circuit issued a flurry of decisions clarifying the pleading standard in FLSA cases. In one of those cases, Dejesus v. HF Management Services, LLC, the court held that, in order to state a valid overtime claim after the Supreme Court’s decisions in Iqbal and Twombly, “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.” The Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal in Dejesus because the plaintiff failed to estimate her hours or provide any factual context for how many hours she worked, and criticized her complaint as merely a “rephrasing” of the FLSA’s requirements made to appear as factual statements.
Picking up where Dejesus left off, Judge Joanna Seybert of the Eastern District of New York last week dismissed a putative class and collective action brought on behalf of automobile damage adjusters under the FLSA and New York Labor Law because “plaintiff pleads no facts that suggest that GEICO failed to pay Plaintiff the proper amount of overtime pay.” Instead, the plaintiff alleged that GEICO failed to pay him (and the putative class) overtime compensation for the time he worked between 38.75 and 40 hours per week – which by itself “does not state a claim that GEICO failed to pay proper overtime.” Judge Seybert further dismissed the plaintiff’s off-the-clock claim because the Amended Complaint provided no facts to support it, such as “an estimate of hours Plaintiff failed to report or who allegedly discourage adjusters from reporting overtime.”
This case shows that employers within the Second Circuit continue to reap the benefits of Dejesus and its progeny. Perhaps the courts’ rejection of bare bones complaints will prod plaintiffs to provide detailed factual allegations – or even decline to sue in the first place – before burdening employers with years of discovery and other litigation costs.