United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT II WITH
FEDERICO A. MORENO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
wage dispute, Plaintiff Luis Belmonte brings two causes of
action against Defendants Creative Properties, Inc. and
Jeffrey Bowie to recover unpaid wages. In Count I, Belmonte
asserts a claim under Section 207 of the Fair Labor Standards
Act; in Count II, he asserts a claim under Florida Statute
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (D.E. 10) asking the
Court to dismiss Count II with prejudice on grounds that it
fails to state a claim that is "distinct" from
Count I because both claims seek to recover the same unpaid
overtime compensation. Furthermore, and along similar lines,
the Defendants argue that Count II (a Florida statutory
claim) should be dismissed as preempted by Count I (a federal
Fair Labor Standards Act claim). Belmonte argues in his
Opposition that his state law claim should not be dismissed
because it is pleaded "in the alternative to" his
federal Fair Labor Standards Act claim.
COURT has considered the Motion, the Opposition, the Reply,
the pertinent portions of the record, and being otherwise
fully advised in the premises, it is
that for the reasons explained below, the Motion to Dismiss
is GRANTED. Accordingly, Count II is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Complaint, Belmonte alleges he was hired as a landscaper at
Defendant Creative Properties, Inc. for $10.90 per hour.
(D.E. 1 at ¶¶ 13-14.) Belmonte's core factual
allegation is that he worked approximately 1, 470 overtime
hours between March 2017 and February 2019, but "was not
paid at the rate of time-and-one half his regularly hourly
rate," as required by law. Id. at ¶¶
15-16. According to Belmonte, the Defendants still owe him
compensation for the underpaid overtime hours worked.
Id. at ¶ 19. Based upon these factual
allegations, Belmonte brings a claim under Section 207 of the
Fair Labor Standards Act to recover "overtime
compensation in the lawful amount for hours worked ... in
excess of the maximum provided for in the FLSA."
Id. at ¶ 23. And in Count II, he asserts a
claim under Florida Statute Section 448.110 to recover
"earned unpaid wages which are owed and payable by
Defendants." Id. at ¶ 33.
Belmonte styles Count II as a claim for "unpaid
wages'” (in contrast to "unpaid
overtime”) and argues in his Opposition
memoranda that his state law claim is pleaded "in the
alternative to" his federal Fair Labor Standards Act
claim, the Court finds that Count II is duplicative of Count
I. Indeed, in Counts I and II, Belmonte "re-alleges and
re-incorporates paragraphs 1-19 as fully alleged
therein" id. at ¶¶ 20, 32-which, as
discussed above, alleges only that the Defendants
failed to pay him overtime wages for overtime hours worked,
see Id. at ¶¶ 15-16. In other words, the
factual allegations underlying Counts I and II are identical.
For this reason, the Defendants ask the Court to dismiss
Count II with prejudice because it does not state a claim
that is distinct from Count I.
claims are those that stem from identical allegations, that
are decided under identical legal standards, and for which
identical relief is available." Kuchenbecker v.
Johnson & Johnson, No. 19-61712-CIV, 2019 WL
4416079, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 16, 2019) (quoting
Manning v. Carnival Corp., No. 12-22258-CIV, 2012 WL
3962997, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 11, 2012) (quoting Wultz
v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 755 F.Supp.2d 1, 81 (D.D.C.
2010))). "To promote judicial economy, a court
'should dismiss claims that are duplicative of other
claims.'" Id. (quoting Manning,
2012 WL 3962997, at *2). Here, as shown above, Counts I and
II stem from identical factual allegations. (See
D.E. 1 at ¶¶ 15-16, 20, 23, 32-33.) For this reason
alone, Count II should be dismissed. But there is an
additional reason that Count II is subject to dismissal. As
the Defendants further argue, Belmonte's state law claim
in Count II is preempted by the federal Fair Labor Standards
Act claim in Count I.
216 of the Fair Labor Standards Act provides in relevant part
that any employer who violates Section 207 of the Act
"shall be liable to the employee .. . affected in the
amount of. .. their unpaid overtime compensation." 29
U.S.C. § 216(b). Notably, Section 216 is the exclusive
remedy for enforcing rights created under the Fair Labor
Standards Act. See Bule v. Garda CL Se., Inc., No.
14-21898-CIV, 2014 WL 3501546, at *2 (S.D. Fla. July 14,
2014) (citing Tombrello v. USX Corp., 763 F.Supp.
541, 545 (N.D. Ala. 1991)); see also Volcy v. Rose Mgmt.
Props., Inc., No. 14-61418-CIV, 2014 WL 12861852, at
*2-3 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 12, 2014) (adopting Bule's
rationale for dismissal). And as a matter of law, a plaintiff
"cannot circumvent the exclusive remedy prescribed by
Congress in asserting equivalent state law claims in addition
to the FLSA claim." Garcia v. Nachon Enterprises,
Inc., 223 F.Supp.3d 1257, 1268 (S.D. Fla. 2016) (quoting
Morrow v. Green Tree Serv'g, L.L.C., 360
F.Supp.2d 1246, 1252 (M.D. Ala. 2005)).
"where a plaintiffs state law claims are merely the FLSA
claims recast in state law terms, those state law claims are
preempted by the FLSA ... ." Id. (citing
Alexander v. Vesta Ins. Grp., Inc., 147 F.Supp.2d
1223, 1240-41 (N.D. Ala. 2001)). As a consequence, courts
dismiss duplicative state law claims where they rely on proof
of the same facts. See Bule, 2014 WL 3501546, at *2
(granting motion to dismiss with prejudice state law claims
for breach of implied agreement, quantum meruit, and
unjust enrichment because "a plain reading" showed
these claims were "all, without a doubt, dependent on a
finding of the same violations of the FLSA"); see
also Bell v. 1220 Mgmt. Grp., LLC, No. 17-cv-22479, 2018
WL 3054795, at *l-2 (S.D. Fla. June 20, 2018) (granting
motion to dismiss claims for unpaid tips under Florida's
Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Federal
Trade Commission Act because those claims were
"factually duplicative of the FLSA counts and based upon
a violation of rights created by the FLSA").
Belmonte seeks to enforce his right under the Fair Labor
Standards Act to receive unpaid overtime wages of "a
rate not less than one and one-half times the regular
rate" for hours worked in excess of 40. See 29
U.S.C. § 207(a)(1). The exclusive remedy for enforcing
this right derives from Section 216 of the Fair Labor
Standards Act. See Bule, 2014 WL 3501546, at *2
(citing Tombrello, 763 F.Supp. at 545);
Volcy, 2014 WL 12861852, at *2. Furthermore,
Belmonte's state law claim in Count II for "unpaid
wages" is premised on the exact same factual allegations
as his federal claim in Count I for "unpaid
overtime." See supra. Accordingly, Count II
must be dismissed with prejudice as duplicative of Count I,