United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
workplace retaliation case comes before the Court on
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. 8.)
Defendants City of Walthourville (the “City”) and
Daisy S. Pray seek the dismissal of Plaintiff's punitive
damages claim and Defendant Pray seeks dismissal of all
claims against her. (Id.) Though Plaintiff Latarshia
Lee submitted a Response in opposition to Defendants'
Motion, she essentially concedes that the law of the Eleventh
Circuit Court of Appeals forbids her claims for punitive
damages and forbids her claims against Defendant Pray in her
individual capacity. (Doc. 11.).
out below, the precedent of the Eleventh Circuit-which this
Court must follow- indeed prohibits the claims at issue.
Thus, the Court GRANTS Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss, (doc. 8). The Court
DISMISSES all claims asserted against
Defendant Pray and DISMISSES Plaintiff's
claim for punitive damages. Plaintiff's other claims
against Defendant City of Walthourville shall remain pending
before the Court. The Court DIRECTS the
Clerk of Court to terminate Daisy S. Pray as a named
Defendant in this action.
the Court notes that the parties' deadline for filing
dispositive motions, February 13, 2019, is fast approaching.
Prior to the filing of dispositive motions, it would be
prudent for the parties to gauge the impact of the instant
ruling and provide a status report to the Court.
Consequently, the Court hereby ORDERS the
parties to file a joint post-discovery status report on or
before February 13, 2019. The Court EXTENDS the
deadline for the filing of dispositive motions, including all
Daubert motions to March 15, 2019.
filed the present action in this Court on April 20, 2018,
seeking damages for alleged violations of her rights under
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, § 28 U.S.C. 201,
et seq. (“FLSA”). (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants violated the FLSA by engaging in
unlawful workplace retaliation after Plaintiff settled a
separate lawsuit against the City in late 2017.
(Id.) Plaintiff maintains that Defendant Pray, as
mayor of the City, “was the main actor in
Plaintiff's retaliatory discharge and pressured
Plaintiff's superior(s) to target Plaintiff for
termination” immediately following the
settlement. (Doc. 11, p. 2.) Plaintiff seeks to
recover “actual and liquidated damages, including lost
wages,  compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, and the
costs of litigation, ” as well as punitive damages from
both Defendants. (Doc. 1, pp. 11- 12.) In the present Motion,
Defendants contend that neither Plaintiff's claims
against Defendant Pray nor her request for punitive damages
is permitted under the FLSA. (Doc. 8.) In response, Plaintiff
acknowledges that Defendants' assertions are supported by
Eleventh Circuit precedent but urges the Court to consider
law from other circuits. (Doc. 11, p. 1.)
may dismiss a complaint when it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
or when the complaint does not state a facially plausible
claim for relief under Rule 12(b)(6). Jones v.
State, 725 F.2d 622, 623 (11th Cir. 1984). Here,
Defendants argue that dismissal is appropriate on both
grounds because the law does not permit the at-issue claims.
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) take one of two forms: a
“facial attack” on subject matter jurisdiction
based on the complaint's allegations taken as true or a
“factual attack” based on evidentiary matters
outside of the pleadings. McElmurray v. Consol. Gov't
of Augusta-Richmond Cty., 501 F.3d 1244, 1251 (11th Cir.
2007) (citing Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525,
1529 (11th Cir. 1990)). Here, in the “facial
attack” context, the Court proceeds as if it were
evaluating a 12(b)(6) motion. Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola
Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009), abrogated
on other grounds by Mohamad v. Palestinian Auth., 566
U.S. 449 (2012).
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must
“accept the allegations in the complaint as true and
constru[e] them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Belanger v. Salvation Army, 556
F.3d 1153, 1155 (11th Cir. 2009). “A complaint must
state a facially plausible claim for relief, and ‘[a]
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.'” Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc.,
626 F.3d 1187, 1196 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “A pleading that
offers ‘labels and conclusions' or a
‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action'” does not suffice. Ashcroft, 556
U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 545 (2007)). While a court must accept all factual
allegations in a complaint as true, this tenet “is
inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, ” are insufficient. Id.
Dismissal of Defendant Pray in her Individual
Defendant Pray avers that, as a public official, she cannot
be sued in her individual capacity for FLSA violations and
urges that the claims against her must be dismissed as a
matter of law. (Doc. 8.) The Court agrees.
person may be held individually liable in an FLSA retaliation
suit if he or she qualifies as an “employer”
under the Act. 29 U.S.C. §§ 215(a)(3), 216(b);
see also Moore v. Appliance Direct, Inc., 708 F.3d
1233, 1237 (11th Cir. 2013) (the FLSA permits individual
liability for retaliation where the individual is considered
an “employer”). The FLSA definition of
“employer” includes “any person acting
directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in
relation to an employee.” 29 U.S.C. § 203(d);
see Moore, 708 F.3d at 1237. To determine whether an
individual qualifies as an FLSA employer, courts in the
Eleventh Circuit are charged with considering “the
total employment situation.” Welch v. Laney,
57 F.3d 1004, 1011 (11th Cir. 1995). Such an inquiry includes
weighing “whether or not the employment took place on
the premises of the alleged employer; how much control  the
alleged employer exert[ed] on the employees; and, [whether]
the alleged employer ha[d] the power to fire, hire, or modify
the employment condition of the employees[.]”
Id. (quoting Wirtz v. Lone Star Steel Co.,
405 F.2d 668, 669-70 (5th Cir. 1968)) (alterations in
original). In Welch v. Laney, the Eleventh Circuit
applied these factors and held that a sheriff could ...