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Flores v. HMS Host Corp.

United States District Court for the District of Maryland

October 23, 2019, Decided; October 23, 2019, Filed

Civil Action No. 8:18-cv-03312-PX; Civil Action No. 8:18-cv-03322-PX

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Pending before the Court in these companion FLSA class cases are Defendants' motions to dismiss in Flores v. HMS Host Corp., No 8:18-cv-03312-PX, ECF No. 15, and Storch v. HMS Host Corp., No. 8:18-cv-03322-PX, ECF No. 14. The motions are fully briefed, and no hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are DENIED.

I. Background

These cases are related to Acey v. HMS Host USA, Inc., No. 8:18-cv-01395-PX, [*3]  also pending before this Court. Acey involves a Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") suit also against Defendants HMS Host Corporation and HMS Host USA, Inc. (collectively "HMS Host," "HMS," or "Defendants"). Acey, ECF No. 115 at 1. HMS Host owns and operates food and beverage franchises across the United States, mostly in large airports. Id. The Acey Plaintiffs are employees of HMS Host and allege that their employer systematically under-compensated them in violation of the FLSA. Id. at 1-2.

Acey had been filed originally in the Western District of Tennessee. Id. at 2. At the time Acey was transferred to this District, the Plaintiffs represented that they would pursue claims on behalf of three groups of employees: (1) untipped "Quick Service Restaurant" ("QSR") employees; (2) untipped "warehouse runner/receiver/utility" ("runner") employees; and (3) tipped waitstaff. Id. at 3. The Acey Plaintiffs initially intended to amend the Complaint to reflect the three distinct subclasses. Id. at 3. Instead, in September 2018, the Acey Plaintiffs narrowed their Complaint so that it only alleged claims on behalf of QSR employees. See Acey, ECF No. 96 at ¶ 4. The "runner" employees then filed Flores, ECF No. 1, and the waitstaff filed [*4]  Storch, ECF No. 1.

The Court has already denied Defendants' motion to dismiss the Acey Complaint. Acey, ECF No. 115. The Court now turns to similar, but not identical, challenges that HMS lodges against the Flores and Storch Complaints.

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183906 *; 2019 WL 5454647

RONALDO FLORES, et al., Plaintiffs, v. HMS HOST CORP., et al., Defendants, and, AMY STORCH, et al., Plaintiffs, v. HMS HOST CORP., et al., Defendants.

Prior History: Acey v. HMS Host USA, Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84170 (D. Md., May 20, 2019)

CORE TERMS

tipped, Host, employees, deference, motion to dismiss, performing, regulation, minimum wage, courts, off-the-clock, Complaints, allegations, untipped, occupation, guideline, agency's interpretation, reasonable time, occasionally, contends, reasons, cases