United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Harvest Management
Sub LLC's Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. # 11. Plaintiffs
Patricia Butler and Wesley Butler oppose the Motion. Dkt. #
20. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS Defendant's Motion.
following is taken from Plaintiff's Complaint, which is
assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion to
dismiss. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th
preliminary matter, Defendant requests that the Court take
judicial notice of a decision in a related FLSA case
involving Defendant, Cwik v. Harvest Mgmt. Sub LLC,
No. 2:12-cv-08309-DMG-JC (C.D. Cal., filed Sept. 26, 2012),
and the relevant filings in that case, attached as exhibits
to Defendant's Motion. Dkt. # 11 Ex. A-G. As the
requested documents are “matters of public
record” and their authenticity is not contested,
Defendant's request is granted. See Lee v. City of
Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 689 (9th Cir. 2001)
(“Under Fed.R.Evid. 201, a court may take judicial
notice of ‘matters of public record.'”);
bring this proposed collective action against Defendant for
alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(“FLSA”), 27 U.S.C. §§ 201, et
seq. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant intentionally
misclassified thousands of Co-Managers as exempt employees to
evade federal wage and hour laws. Dkt. # 1 ¶ 3.
Plaintiffs worked as Co-Managers from approximately July 2012
to November 2014. Dkt. # 1 ¶ 11. In November of 2015,
Plaintiffs filed a petition for bankruptcy which was
discharged in February of 2016. Dkt. # 11. Plaintiffs did not
disclose a potential FLSA claim in their bankruptcy
proceedings. Id. Plaintiffs filed this action on May
2, 2017. Dkt. # 1.
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a complaint for
failure to state a claim. The rule requires the court to
assume the truth of the complaint's factual allegations
and credit all reasonable inferences arising from those
allegations. Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910
(9th Cir. 2007). A court “need not accept as true
conclusory allegations that are contradicted by documents
referred to in the complaint.” Manzarek v. St. Paul
Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th
Cir. 2008). The plaintiff must point to factual allegations
that “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 568 (2007). If the plaintiff succeeds, the complaint
avoids dismissal if there is “any set of facts
consistent with the allegations in the complaint” that
would entitle the plaintiff to relief. Id. at 563;
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
typically cannot consider evidence beyond the four corners of
the complaint, although it may rely on a document to which
the complaint refers if the document is central to the
party's claims and its authenticity is not in question.
Marder v. Lopez, 450 F.3d 445, 448 (9th Cir. 2006).
A court may also consider evidence subject to judicial
notice. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908
(9th Cir. 2003).
argues that Plaintiffs are barred from pursuing their FLSA
claims based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel.
“Judicial estoppel is an equitable doctrine invoked by
a court at its discretion.” Ah Quin v. Cty. of
Kauai Dep't of Transp., 733 F.3d 267, 270 (9th Cir.
2013) (quoting New Hampshire v. Maine, 532 U.S. 742,
750, 121 S.Ct. 1808, 149 L.Ed.2d 968 (2001)). Its purpose is
to “protect the integrity of the judicial
process” by precluding a party from gaining an
advantage by asserting one position and then later taking a
clearly inconsistent position. Ah Quin, 733 F.3d at
270; see also Hamilton v. State Farm Fire & Cas.
Co., 270 F.3d 778, 782 (9th Cir. 2001).
the doctrine of judicial estoppel is not reducible to any
“general formulation of principle, ” a court may
consider the following factors to inform its decision whether
to apply the doctrine in a particular case: (1) a party's
later position is “clearly inconsistent” with its
earlier position; (2) the party persuaded a court to accept
that party's earlier position, so that judicial
acceptance of an inconsistent position in a later proceeding
would create the perception that the first or the second
court was misled; (3) whether the party seeking to assert an
inconsistent position would derive an unfair advantage or
impose an unfair detriment on the opposing party if not
estopped. Ah Quin, 733 F.3d at ...