Posts tagged "1203217"

Bassett, et al. v. Triton Technologies, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-032-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1684CV03475-____________________ BLS2 LAURA BASSETT, JAMIE ZALINSKAS, ALYSSA WRIGHT, and ALEXIS CRAMER, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated v. TRITON TECHNLOGIES_, _I_N_C__.,_ S__. _J_A_Y__ N__A_L__L_I , and ANDREW S. BANK MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT III Plaintiffs claim that they and other employees of Triton Technologies, Inc., are owed unpaid wages. Part of their claim, in Count III of the complaint, is that Triton breached its statutory obligation, as a business that sells goods at retail, to pay employees who work on Sunday “one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate.” See G.L. c. 136, § 6(50). Defendants move to dismiss Count III under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). They argue that Plaintiffs lack standing to bring this claim, and the Court therefore lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear it, because the Legislature did not create any private right of action to enforce the Sunday pay statute. This framing of the issues is not quite right; the jurisdictional question of whether a plaintiff has standing is separate and distinct from whether they have stated a viable claim. In any case, both parts of Defendants’ argument are without merit. The Legislature created a private right of action under the Wage Act to enforce all of an employer’s legal obligations to pay wages earned by an employee. That right of action encompasses claims for non-payment of extra wages earned by working on a Sunday. And Plaintiffs have standing because they are seeking payment of wages they say are owed but have not been paid by Triton. 1. Framing the Issues. Defendants mistakenly conflate the question of whether there is a private right of action to recoup unpaid Sunday premium pay with the separate issue of whether particular plaintiffs have standing to assert, and thus a court has the power to resolve, such a claim against a particular defendant. Whether a complaint states a cognizable cause of action goes to the ultimate merits of the claim. If a plaintiff asserts a statutory rather than a common law claim, as in this case, a motion to dismiss on the ground that the plaintiff has no – 2 – valid cause of action is still an assertion that the plaintiff has not alleged facts plausibly suggesting that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Swartz v. Department of Banking and Ins., 376 Mass. 593, 600 (1978); Whitehall Co. Ltd. v. Merrimack Valley Distributing, 56 Mass. App. Ct. 853, 853-856 (2002). Indeed, the specific question raised by this motion to dismiss—whether an employee can bring a private right of action under the Wage Act to enforce a duty created to employees […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 4, 2017 at 3:15 am

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