Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kuri v. Addictive Behavioral Change Health Group, LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

January 31, 2019

CRYSTAL NICOLE JONES a/k/a CRYSTAL NICOLE KURI, Plaintiff,
v.
ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORAL CHANGE HEALTH GROUP, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HOLLY L. TEETER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Crystal Nicole Kuri filed this action against her former employer, Defendant Addictive Behavioral Change Health Group, LLC, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq., the Kansas Wage Payment Act (“KWPA”), K.S.A. §§ 44-313, et seq., and Kansas state law alleging claims of failure to pay overtime, wages due, breach of contract, and retaliation. In response, Defendant asserted counterclaims for unjust enrichment and breach of contract. Plaintiff now seeks dismissal of Defendant's counterclaims and partial summary judgment in her favor on two of her affirmative claims-Count I for violations of the FLSA and Count V for FLSA retaliation. Docs. 75, 77.

         For the following reasons, the Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Defendant's state law counterclaim for breach of contract and, accordingly, dismisses without prejudice that claim. The Court, however, declines to dismiss Defendant's unjust enrichment claim on either of the bases sought by Plaintiff. The Court likewise denies Plaintiffs motions for partial summary judgment on her claims for violation of the FLSA and FLSA retaliation.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations[1]

         Defendant employed Plaintiff as a dispensing nurse from November 2014 to January 2015. Doc. 72 at 2. Pursuant to Plaintiff s employment contract, Defendant was to pay Plaintiff an hourly wage of $20.25. Id. Defendant's employees-including Plaintiff, during the pendency of her employment-record time worked by clocking in and out of their shifts through a computer program. Id. at 1-2. For any hours worked overtime, Defendant's Policies and Procedures Manual provides:

Non-exempt salaried (hourly) employees will be paid at the rate of one and one-half times their regular hourly rate of pay for all time worked in excess of 40 hours in any one workweek.

Doc. 79 at 5; Doc. 82 at 1.

         On October 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, claiming Defendant failed to pay her for all hours worked-including time spent performing work-related tasks both before and after her scheduled shift-and also failed to pay her time-and-a-half for overtime. Doc. 1; Doc. 72 at 3. Plaintiffs claims prompted Defendant to conduct an audit of its employees' time and pay records, which revealed that overtime hours had been undercounted for several employees. Doc. 72 at 3. Specifically, the audit showed that some employees had been paid “straight time” (i.e., their standard hourly wage) for the undercounted overtime hours, instead of the “time-and-a-half due for those hours under the terms of their employment. Id. With respect to Plaintiff, the audit revealed three hours for which Plaintiff had been paid straight time instead of overtime wages, a difference of $30.38. Doc. 79 at 6; Doc. 82 at 1. The audit also revealed that Defendant mistakenly overpaid Plaintiff amounts designated as holiday pay by $486.00. Id.

         In an attempt to rectify the overtime payment issue, Defendant paid affected employees an additional time-and-a-half amount for the undercounted hours. Doc. 72 at 3. Defendant, however, has not paid Plaintiff any additional amount, arguing it actually overpaid Plaintiff due to (1) its allegedly mistaken payment of $486.00 designated as holiday pay, and (2) Plaintiff's failure to repay a $1, 500.00 loan for car repairs extended by Defendant during the course of Plaintiff's employment. Id. at 4-5.

         B. Procedural History

         Based on the above allegations, Plaintiff asserts claims in this action for (1) violation of the FLSA, (2) violation of the KWPA, (3) breach of contract, and (4) retaliation under the FLSA. Doc. 72. Although Plaintiff's FLSA violation claim was previously conditionally certified as a collective action under § 216(b) of the FLSA, the case has since been decertified as a collective action. Docs. 30, 39. Therefore, Plaintiff's claim for violation of the FLSA proceeds on an individual basis only. Doc. 39.

         Defendant asserts counterclaims against Plaintiff for unjust enrichment (related to the holiday pay allegations) and breach of contract (related to the car repair loan).[2] Doc. 72. Plaintiff now moves to dismiss Defendant's counterclaims pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).[3] Doc. 77. Plaintiff simultaneously moves for summary judgment with respect to her affirmative claims for violation of, and retaliation under, the FLSA.[4] Docs. 75, 77.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim (Doc. 77)

         Plaintiff moves to dismiss Defendant's counterclaims, arguing (1) that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Defendant's counterclaim for unjust enrichment and its counterclaim for breach of contract, and (2) with respect to Defendant's counterclaim for unjust enrichment only, that Defendant fails to state a claim for relief. Doc. 77. The Court first addresses Plaintiff's jurisdictional argument.

         1. Rule 12(b)(1)

         As set forth above, Plaintiff moves to dismiss both counterclaims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1). For the following reasons, the Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Defendant's counterclaim for breach of contract but exercises supplemental jurisdiction over Defendant's counterclaim for unjust enrichment.

         a. Standard

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Marcus v. Kan. Dep't of Revenue, 170 F.3d 1305, 1309 (10th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, there is a presumption against federal jurisdiction and the party invoking jurisdiction bears the burden to show jurisdiction is proper. Id. Where the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it “must dismiss the cause at any stage of the proceedings in which it becomes apparent that jurisdiction is lacking.” Id. (quoting Basso v. Utah Power & Light Co, 495 F.2d 906, 909 (10th Cir. 1974)).

         Rule 12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction generally fall into one of two categories: “facial” attacks or “factual” attacks. Davenport v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2014 WL 3361729, at *1 (D. Kan. 2014). A facial attack questions the sufficiency of the allegations as to subject matter jurisdiction. Id. In reviewing a facial attack on subject matter jurisdiction, the district court accepts the jurisdictional allegations as true. Id. A factual attack exists where a party goes beyond the allegations and challenges the facts upon which jurisdiction depends. Id. When reviewing a factual attack, the court does not presume the truthfulness of the factual allegations. Id.

         b. Analysis

         The parties acknowledge that Defendant's counterclaims are brought under Kansas state law and, therefore, the Court does not have original jurisdiction over those claims. The parties dispute whether the Court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the counterclaims. A district court has discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims that are sufficiently related to a pending federal claim. United Int 'l Holdings, Inc. v. Wharf (Holdings) Ltd., 210 F.3d 1207, 1220 (10th Cir. 2000). Specifically, 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) provides that “in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy.” This language is interpreted as requiring that the federal and state law claims derive from “a common nucleus of operative fact.” City of Chi. v. Int'l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 164-65 (1997). In deciding whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims, the district court should consider whether the values of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness would be served by retaining jurisdiction. Wittner v. Banner Health, 720 F.3d 770, 781 (10th Cir. 2013) (“[W]e have said the court should consider retaining state claims when, ‘given the nature and extent of pretrial proceedings, judicial economy, convenience, and fairness would be served by retaining jurisdiction.'” (quoting Anglemyer v. Hamilton Cty. Hosp., 58 F.3d 533, 541 (10th Cir. 1995)).[5]

         Plaintiff argues that the Court cannot exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Defendant's counterclaims because the counterclaims do not arise out of the same nucleus of operative fact as Plaintiffs underlying federal claim-i.e., her claim for violation of the FLSA. Doc. 78 at 6-9. Therefore, Plaintiff argues, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the counterclaims. Id. The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.