United States District Court, S.D. Florida
OPINION ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge
Yuniel Rojas (“Rojas”) and Jorge Bravo
(“Bravo”) (collectively, the
“Plaintiffs”) bring this action against their
former employers (collectively, the “Defendants”)
under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and
Florida law seeking damages for unpaid wages and retaliatory
discharge. (ECF No. 28.) Now before the Court is a motion to
dismiss Count IV of the Amended Complaint for retaliatory
discharge under Fla. Stat. § 440.205, filed by
Defendants, OC Electrical LLC and Suntech Plumbing Corp.
(collectively, the “Corporate Defendants”). (the
“Motion, ” ECF No. 32.) Having reviewed the
parties' submissions and the applicable law, the Court
denies the Motion (ECF No.
32) as follows.
worked as an “electrician/construction worker”
for the Corporate Defendants from approximately May 1, 2017
to August 20, 2018. (ECF No. 28 at ¶ 21.) In June 2017,
Rojas suffered a work-related injury. (Id. at ¶
45.) In August 2018, Rojas hired worker's compensation
lawyers, and notified the Corporate Defendants through
counsel of his intent to pursue a worker's compensation
claim. (Id. at ¶ 47.) Over the course his
employment, the Corporate Defendants also failed to pay Rojas
overtime wages. Rojas complained about these unpaid wages on
“multiple occasions up until the time of his
termination.” (Id. at ¶ 39.)
August 20, 2019, the Corporate Defendants terminated
Rojas' employment. (ECF No. 28 at ¶ 39.) According
to Rojas, he “would not have been fired but for his
complaints about unpaid overtime wages” and his attempt
to seek worker's compensation benefits. (Id. at
¶¶ 38-40, 48-50.)
October 9, 2018, the Plaintiffs filed the Complaint asserting
claims under the FLSA and Florida law. (ECF No. 1.) The
Defendants moved to dismiss (ECF No. 18) and the Court
granted that motion, dismissing the Complaint without
prejudice. (ECF No. 27.)
Plaintiffs timely amended the complaint. (ECF No. 28.) As
relevant to the Motion, Rojas asserts claims for retaliatory
discharge under the FLSA, (id. at Count III (the
“Federal Retaliation Claim”)), and under Florida
law, (id. at Count IV (the “Florida
Retaliation Claim”)). The theory of the Federal
Retaliation Claim is that the Defendants fired Rojas for
complaining of unpaid overtime wages. As for the Florida
Retaliation Claim, Rojas submits that his termination was
due, at least in part, to his pursuit of workers'
Corporate Defendants move to dismiss the Florida Retaliation
Claim for lack of supplemental jurisdiction, arguing that
this claim does not arise from the same nucleus of operative
facts as Rojas' federal counts under the FLSA. (ECF No.
32.) Rojas opposes the Motion. (ECF 34.) No. reply brief was
district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all
other claims that are so related to claims in the action
within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the
same case or controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
Supplemental jurisdiction may be exercised when the claim
asserted "derive[s] from a common nucleus of operative
fact" as the claim(s) over which the court has original
jurisdiction. Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund, Inc.
v. City of Atlanta, 701 F.3d 669, 679 (11th Cir. 2012).
simply, “[w]e take the nucleus of facts on which the
federal question claims are based and compare it to the
nucleus of facts on which the state law claims are
based.” Id.; see also Hudson v. Delta Air
Lines, Inc., 90 F.3d 451, 455 (11th Cir. 1996)
(“In deciding whether a state law claim is part of the
same case or controversy as a federal issue, we look to
whether the claims arise from the same facts, or involve
similar occurrences, witnesses or evidence.”).
parties agree that there is no federal question or diversity
jurisdiction over the Florida Retaliation Claim. In the
Motion, the Corporate Defendants seek dismissal of this
claim, arguing that there is no common nucleus of facts
between the Florida Retaliation Claim and the Federal
Retaliation Claim, such that the Court should decline to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction. The Court disagrees.
Florida Retaliation Claim and the Federal Retaliation Claim
arise from a common nucleus of operative facts. Both claims
are premised on the theory that the Defendants discharged
Rojas in retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
Each claim involves the same discharge of the same plaintiff
by the same defendants. Because these claims “arise
from the same facts” and “involve similar
occurrences, witnesses [and] evidence” relating to the