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Ross v. Adams

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

July 18, 2017

KIMBERLY ROSS, Plaintiff,
v.
NATHAN ADAMS, ED MICHAELS, and RICK GRAVES, as COMMISSIONERS OF GREEN COUNTY, INDIANA, Defendants.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, United States District Judge.

         This cause is before the Court on the motion to dismiss filed by the Defendants (Dkt. No. 12). The motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the motion with regard to the Plaintiff's federal claim and DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the Plaintiff's state law claims for the reasons set forth below.

         I. STANDARD

         The Defendants move to dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court “must accept all well pled facts as true and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Agnew v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 683 F.3d 328, 334 (7th Cir. 2012). For a claim to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, it must provide the defendant with “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)) (omission in original). A complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Agnew, 683 F.3d at 334 (citations omitted). A complaint's factual allegations are plausible if they “raise the right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007).

         II. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff, Kimberly Ross, has brought claims against the Defendants, Nathan Adams, Ed Michaels, and Rick Graves, as the Commissioners of Greene County, Indiana. For the purposes of this motion, the Court accepts the following facts as true.

         Ross was the chief deputy auditor in the Greene County Auditor's Office from January 3, 2011, until July 22, 2014. She was employed by Greene County during this three-year period. Ross regularly worked in excess of forty hours per week, but was not compensated for all overtime hours. Her employment was terminated by the County in approximately July 2014. At the time of her termination, Ross asserts that she was owed approximately $4, 732.95 in unpaid wages.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Ross alleges that the Defendants willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., (“FLSA”) by failing to pay her minimum wages and overtime. Ross contends that she was an employee and Greene County was an employer for the purposes of the FLSA. In the alternative to her FLSA claim, Ross contends that the Defendants violated Indiana's Minimum Wage Law of 1965, Ind. Code § 22-2-9 et seq., by failing to timely pay earned wages. Ross further claims that the Defendants breached a contract of employment with her by failing to pay her wages and to comply with state and federal requirements to do so.

         A. Fair Labor Standards Act Claim

         In the instant motion, the Defendants argue that Ross was not an employee for the purposes of the FLSA and, therefore, she cannot sue under the statute. Specifically, they argue that she was excluded from the definition of employee under the FLSA because she was in a policymaking position. Alternatively, they argue that she was excluded from the definition because she was a member of the personal staff of an elected official, or the county was not her employer.

         The FLSA requires employers to pay a minimum wage to employees. 29 U.S.C. § 206(a). It also requires employers to pay an overtime wage to employees who work more than forty hours in a workweek. 29 U.S.C. § 207(a). The FLSA excludes certain individuals employed by a state, a political subdivision of a state, or an interstate governmental agency from its protections, including any individual:

(i) who is not subject to the civil service laws of the State, political subdivision, or agency which employs ...

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