Jones v. Changsila

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALSIS JONES, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 15-1240 (RDM) PRAMOTE CHANGSILA, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER Plaintiff Alsis Jones, a former employee at two Sala Thai restaurants, brings this action against both restaurants as well as the restaurants’ owner and accountant. Jones asserts two sets of claims relating to the restaurants’ payroll and tax reporting practices: First, he contends that the restaurants, their owner, and the accountant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 207, by failing to pay him overtime wages to which he was entitled. Second, he alleges that they committed an assortment of common law torts by falsely reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and state tax authorities that he was paid several thousands of dollars in tips, which, in fact, he never received. He alleges that these false reports caused him to incur substantial, unfounded tax liabilities. Defendants move to dismiss all of these claims, as well as a claim that Jones does not bring but that he alludes to in the background section of his amended complaint. 1 Dkt. 16. Most notably, Defendants contend that Jones fails to state a claim under the FLSA, that his common law claims are preempted by the FLSA, and that, in any event, his claims are time barred. For 1 For ease of reference, unless otherwise noted, the Court will refer to the amended complaint, Dkt. 14, simply as “the complaint.” the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT in part and DENY in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss. I. BACKGROUND The complaint, Dkt. 14, sets forth the relevant facts, which the Court must accept as true for purposes of the pending motion. See Wood v. Moss, --- U.S. ---, 134 S. Ct. 2056, 2065–67 & n.5 (2014). A. The Parties Originally from Thailand, Jones immigrated to the United States and was employed at two Sala Thai restaurants in the D.C. metropolitan area from 2006 to 2008. Dkt. 14 at 4–6 (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 16). One restaurant was located in the District of Columbia and was incorporated under D.C. law as “Green T Group, Inc.” See Dkt. 14-1 at 2; Dkt. 14 at 4–5 (Am. Compl. ¶ 8 & n.3). At some point after Jones ceased working for Sala Thai, Green T Group was sold to “Green T Group II, Inc.,” which continues to do business in the District of Columbia. See Dkt. 14 at 4–5 (Am. Compl. ¶ 8 & n.3). According to Jones, Green T Group II is the “successor in interest” to the original Green T Group. Id. at 4 (Am. Compl. ¶ 6). The second Sala Thai restaurant is located in Bethesda, Maryland and is incorporated under Maryland law as “Ja-Roen- D Inc.” See id. at 5 (Am. Compl. ¶ 9); Dkt. 14-1 at 2. During Jones’s employment, Green T Group and Ja-Roen-D (collectively, “Sala Thai”) “shar[ed] the same employees [and] management.” Dkt. 14 at 4 (Am. Compl. ¶ ...

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