Harris v. Medical Transportation Management, Inc.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA _________________________________________ ) ISAAC HARRIS, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) Case No. 17-cv-01371 (APM) ) MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION ) MANAGEMENT, INC., ) ) Defendant. ) _________________________________________ ) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER This case concerns drivers who claim that they have not been paid in accordance with federal and local wage laws for transporting Medicaid patients in the District of Columbia. Defendant Medical Transportation Management, Inc., is a private company that contracts with the District of Columbia to “manage and administer” non-emergency transportation services for Medicaid recipients. Defendant does not itself supply these transportation services; rather, it contracts with various companies that own vehicles and employ drivers for that purpose. Defendant considers itself a “broker” of transportation services. Plaintiffs Isaac Harris, Darnell Frye, and Leo Franklin work as drivers for companies that contract with Defendant to provide transportation services. They bring this class action to recover wages that they allege their employers have not paid them and similarly situated drivers. Plaintiffs contend that, even though Defendant is not their “employer” in the ordinary sense of that word, Defendant is legally liable for their unpaid wages as a “joint employer” or “general contractor” under federal and local laws. Plaintiffs’ claims arise under four federal and District of Columbia wage statutes: (1) the Fair Labor Standards Act, (2) the D.C. Minimum Wage Act, (3) the D.C. Living Wage Act, and (4) the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law. Plaintiffs also advance a common law breach-of-contract claim on the theory that they are third-party beneficiaries of the contract between Defendant and the District of Columbia, which requires Defendant and transportation companies to pay no less than the current living wage. Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety. In its Motion to Dismiss, Defendant argues that: (1) it cannot be held liable for the alleged wage violations because it is neither a “joint employer” nor “general contractor” under the relevant wage laws; (2) Plaintiffs’ line of work is exempted from the D.C. Living Wage Act; and (3) Plaintiffs are not third-party beneficiaries of the contract between Defendant and the District of Columbia and, therefore, do not have standing to enforce it. For the reasons that follow, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is granted as to the breach of contract claim, but denied as to the federal and District of Columbia wage claims. I. BACKGROUND A. Factual Background Federal Medicaid regulations provide that a state Medicaid plan must: “(a) [s]pecify that the [state] Medicaid agency will ensure necessary transportation for beneficiaries to and from providers; and (b) [d]escribe the methods that the agency will use to meet this requirement.” 42 C.F.R. § 431.53. Under its Medicaid State Plan, the District of Columbia uses both public and private transportation options to ensure that benefits recipients are able to get to and from providers. Depending on the circumstances, recipients may receive bus tokens, Metro fare cards, taxicab vouchers, medi-van or other van transportation, or non-emergency ambulance ...

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