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United States District Court for the District of Colorado
July 6, 2015, Decided; July 6, 2015, Filed
Civil Action No. 14-cv-02887-JLK
[*1128] MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11). For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
Plaintiffs are current and former detainees at the Aurora Facility, a private, for-profit immigration detention facility owned and operated by defendant GEO Group in Aurora, Colorado under contract with the Federal government. Doc. 1 at [**2] p.1. Plaintiffs allege that detainees participate in a "Voluntary Work Program" at the facility where they perform tasks such as maintaining the on-site medical facility, doing laundry, preparing meals, and cleaning various parts of the facility for compensation of $1 per day. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 1, 28. Plaintiffs also allege that each day, six randomly selected detainees (whether they participate in the Voluntary Work Program or not) are required to clean the facility's "pods" without compensation under threat of solitary confinement. Doc. 1 ¶¶ 5-6. Plaintiffs bring three claims. First, Plaintiffs allege that the Voluntary Work Program violates the Colorado Minimum Wage Order ("CMWO") because Plaintiffs are paid $1/day instead of the Colorado minimum wage. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 40-52. Second, Plaintiffs allege that forcing detainees to clean their living areas under threat of solitary confinement violates the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's ("TVPA") prohibition on forced labor. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 69-85. Third, Plaintiffs allege that the Defendant was unjustly enriched through the operation of the Voluntary Work Program. Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 101-107.
Defendant has moved to dismiss all three of Plaintiffs' claims. [**3] First, Defendant argues that it is not an "employer," and that the detainees are not "employees," within the meaning of the CMWO. Doc. 11 at 5-11. Second, Defendant argues that the TVPA does not apply to immigration detainees. Id. at 11-15. Finally, Defendant argues that Plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim should be dismissed as duplicative of their claim for violation of the CMWO. Id. at 15. In its reply brief, Defendant also asserts that Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the government contractor defense and are preempted by the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act ("SCA"). Doc. 18 at 5-8. Plaintiffs sought and were granted leave to file a sur-reply responding to these additional arguments. See Doc. 21.
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113 F. Supp. 3d 1125 *; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87831 **; 24 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 1839
ALEJANDRO MENOCAL, MARCOS BRAMBILA, GRISEL XAHUENTITLA, HUGO HERNANDEZ, LOURDES ARGUETA, JESUS GAYTAN, OLGA ALEXAKLINA, DAGOBERTO VIZGUERRA, and DEMETRIO VALEGRA, on their own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. THE GEO GROUP, INC., Defendant.
Subsequent History: Reconsideration denied by, Motion denied by, As moot Menocal v. Geo Group, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113219 (D. Colo., Aug. 26, 2015)
Motion denied by, Request denied by, As moot Menocal v. GEO Grp., Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35335 (D. Colo., Mar. 17, 2016)
Class certification granted by, Request granted Menocal v. GEO Grp., Inc., 320 F.R.D. 258, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36039 (D. Colo., Feb. 27, 2017)
Motion granted by, Motion denied by, Objection overruled by Menocal v. GEO Grp., Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203420 (D. Colo., June 6, 2017)
detainees, unjust enrichment, minimum wage, food and beverage, employees, Retail, argues, immigration, food, consuming public, work program, enterprise, preempt, government contractor, involuntary servitude, service contract, general public, duplicative, benefits, consumer, sales, trafficking, includes, wages