United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Elizabeth A. Stafford, United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS 
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge
Kimberly Vernon initiated this action, on behalf of herself
and other similarly situated employees, against Defendants GO
Ventures, LLC, GO Ventures-Holly, LLC, Tangaroo Creek, Drake
Enterprises, LLC, Drake Enterprises-Holly, LLC, Greg Taylor,
and Wynn Taylor (collectively “Defendants”) on
October 26, 2016. Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
(“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.,
the Michigan Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 408.411, et seq., the Michigan Whistleblower
Protection Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 15.361, et
seq., the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 37.2101, et seq., and Michigan public
policy. Id. Plaintiff's complaint alleges that
Defendants failed to pay her and other similarly situated
employees of Defendants' camping and lodging facilities
the appropriate minimum wages and overtime pay, and that
Defendants retaliated against Plaintiff after she notified
them about the violations. Id.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Dkt. No. 9. Upon review of the pleadings, the Court
finds that oral argument will not aid in the disposition of
this matter. Accordingly, the Court will decide the matter on
the pleadings. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the
reasons stated more fully below, this Court will grant in
part and deny in part Defendants' motion .
own and operate numerous campgrounds and lodging facilities
in states including Michigan, Tennessee, New York, Alabama,
and Missouri. Dkt. No. 1, p. 5 (Pg. ID 5). Plaintiff asserts
that these businesses operate more than seven months of the
year. Id. at 6.
began working for Defendants' campground in Holly,
Michigan in or about April 2013. Id. In her initial
position as Activities Director, Plaintiff's starting pay
was $7.25 per hour. Id. Plaintiff's hours
exceeded 40 hours per week and would include “off the
clock” work that Defendants did not include on her time
states that she became a General Manager for Defendants in or
about December 2015. Id. at 7. In April 2016,
Defendants began to pay Plaintiff $350.00 per week.
Id. Plaintiff regularly worked over 40 hours per
week, including, “off the clock” work that
Defendants did not record on Plaintiff's time records.
reported concerns to Defendants, including concerns that she
was paid lower wages and received fewer benefits than male
employees, that non-immigrant workers were mistreated, that
J-1 Visa requirements were violated, that there were child
labor issues, and that employees were not compensated in
accordance with state and federal law. Id.
Defendants did not respond to Plaintiff's reports and
concerns. Id. at 8.
sought legal counsel after growing concerned of possible
retaliation. Id. Plaintiff's legal counsel sent
Defendants a letter on July 25, 2016, notifying them of his
representation of Plaintiff and requesting Defendants direct
all further communications concerning Plaintiff's
employment to him. Id. at 8, 29. That same day,
after receiving the letter, Defendants suspended Plaintiff,
directed her to return all company property, and escorted her
off Defendants' premises. Id. at 8. On July 27,
2016, Defendants sent Plaintiff a letter informing her that
she was being “terminated” from the managerial
program, but could be considered for her prior position.
Id. at 8, 35.
28, 2016, Defendants sent a letter to Plaintiff and her
counsel. Id. at 8, 38-40. Defendants maintained that
Plaintiff could no longer work as a manager, but could
possibly still work as a clerk. Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” To withstand a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must comply
with the pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a). See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Rule 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47 (1957)). To meet this standard, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see also Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678-80 (2009) (applying the plausibility standard
articulated in Twombly).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accept all of his or her factual allegations as
true. Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439 (6th
Cir. 2008). However, the Court need not accept mere
conclusory statements or legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court usually cannot
consider matters outside of the pleadings. Weiner v.
Klais & Co., Inc., 108 F.3d 86, 89 (6th Cir. 1997).
There are limited exceptions to this general rule. For
instance, the Court may consider “the Complaint and any
exhibits attached thereto, public records, items appearing in
the record of the case and exhibits attached to
defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they are
referred to in the Complaint and are central to the claims
contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).
The Court may also consider “documents incorporated
into the complaint by reference, and matters of which a court
may take judicial notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor
Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007).
Adequacy of Pleading
first argue that Plaintiff has not properly pled her wage and
hour claims, relying on cases from district courts outside
the Sixth Circuit to contend that wage and overtime claims
have strict pleading requirements. The Court did not find
binding precedent in which the Sixth Circuit adopted this
approach. See Pope v. Walgreen Co., No. 3:14-CV-439,
2015 WL 471006, at *2-3 (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 4, 2015) (noting
that the “level of detail necessary to plead a FLSA
overtime claim . . . has divided courts around the
country” and “district courts within the Sixth
Circuit have applied a less strict approach.”).
Supreme Court has recognized that “the pleading
standard Rule 8 announces does not require ‘detailed
factual allegations, ' ” but instead “demands
more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
the complaint is far from detailed, the Court finds it
sufficiently provides factual allegations and is not merely
parroting the relevant statutes. For instance, Plaintiff
provides the dates of her employment, the positions in which
she worked, and the rate at which she was compensated for
each position. She alleges that the relevant statutes apply
to the Defendants and that she was employed by Defendants
during the relevant time periods. Plaintiff alleges that in
one position, she was not paid for her work exceeding forty
hours per week, and that in another position, her fixed