United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
LETCH G. DAY, et al., Plaintiffs,
AIR METHODS CORP., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Reeves United States District Judge
matter is pending for consideration of the defendants'
motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' Complaint pursuant to
Rules 12(b)(2), and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. [Record No. 4] For the reasons that follow, the
Court will grant, in part, and deny, in part, defendants'
motion to dismiss.
Letch G. Day, Stephanie E. Fields, Steven D. Frasure,
Stephanie G. Logsdon, Sonya A. Burkhart, Leslie H. Fryman,
Sean H. Davenport, and Edwin Bentley are former employees of
Defendant Air Method Corporation. The plaintiffs purportedly
filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other
similarly-situated employees who are or were employed by AMC.
They allege violations of the Kentucky Wage and Hour Act
(“KWHA”), KRS 337.010, et seq., and
various other state wage and hour laws. Additionally, the
plaintiffs assert claims of unjust enrichment and
retaliation. [Record No. 1-1, p. 4] This action was removed
to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C §§ 1441, 1453,
1466 and the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”).
[Record No. 1]
plaintiffs assert that AMC failed to pay its employees
overtime for all hours worked over forty hours in a week in
violation of KRS § 377.285(1). [Record No. 1-1, ¶
35] They also allege on behalf of similarly-situated current
and former employees that AMC failed to pay overtime in
violation of various state wage and hour laws. [Id.
at ¶¶ 41-42] The plaintiffs contend that the
failure to pay them required compensation unjustly enriched
AMC. Finally, the plaintiffs' assert that AMC retaliated
against them by terminating their employment after they made
various complaints regarding wage issues in violation of KRS
§ 377.990(9). [Id. at ¶¶ 48-79]
plaintiffs have the burden of establishing personal
jurisdiction. Conn v. Zakharov, 667 F.3d 705, 711
(6th Cir. 2012). The plaintiffs must make a two-part prima
facie showing to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. First, they
must demonstrate that “jurisdiction is proper under a
long-arm statute or other jurisdictional rule of . . . the
forum state”. Second, they must show that “the
Due Process Clause also allows for jurisdiction under the
facts of the case.” Id. If either part of the
test is not met, the analysis ends. See Id. at
711-12 (“[I]f jurisdiction is not proper under the Due
Process Clause[, ] it is unnecessary to analyze jurisdiction
under the state long-arm statute, and vice-versa.”).
However, the prima facie burden is “‘relatively
slight.'” Air Prods. & Controls, Inc. v.
Safetech Int'l, Inc., 503 F.3d 544, 549 (6th Cir.
2007) (quoting Am. Greetings Corp. v. Cohn, 839 F.2d
1164, 1169 (6th Cir. 1989)). In determining whether a
plaintiff has made this necessary showing, the Court views
the parties' submissions “in a light most favorable
to the plaintiff, ” disregarding any contrary
assertions by the defendant. Id. (citing
Theunissen v. Matthews, 1454');">935 F.2d 1454, 1458 (6th
in considering a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the Court must determine whether the complaint
states a claim for which relief is available. It “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations must be
sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and permit the
Court to “draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While a complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain more
than an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Id. “A pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions' or a ‘formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action'”
is insufficient. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
jurisdiction “depends on an ‘affiliation[n]
between the forum and the underlying controversy, '
principally, activity or an occurrence that takes place in
the forum State and is therefore subject to the State's
regulation.” Goodyear Dunlop tires Operations, S.A.
v. Brown, 15');">564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011) (quoting von Mehren
& Trautman, Jurisdiction to Adjudicate: A Suggested
Analysis, 79 Harv. L. Rev. 1121, 1136 (1966). AMC
contends that this Court does not have personal jurisdiction
over it regarding all claims brought in a representative
capacity of similarly-situated employees employed by the
defendant outside of Kentucky. This argument is misplaced
because the inquiry for personal jurisdiction lies with the
named parties of the suit asserting their various claims
against the defendant, not the unnamed proposed class
members.[1" name="FN1" id=
"FN1">1] AMC fails to cite any authority that would
support the assertion that its contacts with the named
plaintiff and this forum are insufficient to for this Court
to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over them.
Instead, this court may exercise personal jurisdiction over
AMC if such jurisdiction is authorized by Kentucky law and
otherwise consistent with the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. See AlixPartners LLP v.
Brewington, 836 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2016). AMC does
not contend that personal jurisdiction would be improper over
the claims brought by the named plaintiffs in this case. As a
result, the Court will deny AMC's motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction.
The KWHA and Class Actions
contends that KRS § 337.385(2) does not authorize class
actions for Kentucky wage and hour violations. In support, it
relies on a 2015 Kentucky Court of Appeals decision which was
recently reversed by the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
McCann v. Sullivan University Systems, Inc., No.
2014-CA-392, 2015 WL 832280 (Ky. Ct. App. Feb. 27, 2015),
rev'd, __ S.W.3d __, 2017 WL 3631704 (Ky. Aug. 24, 2017).
The supreme court found that “[t[he General Assembly
did not create a special statutory proceeding brought under
KRS 337.385. Therefore, we hold, as a matter of law, that CR
23 remains an available procedural mechanism to McCann's
cause of action brought under KRS 337.385.”
McCann, 2017 WL 3631704, at *4. Because
Kentucky's highest has held that KRS §337.385
authorizes class actions, AMC's motion to dismiss on this
ground will be denied.