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O'Neal v. Denn-Ohio, LLC

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division

January 14, 2020, Filed

Case No. 3:19-cv-280

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Introduction and Background

Named Plaintiffs Christie D. O'Neal and Dusty M. Shepard brought this action on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated who are or were servers at any of the Denny's franchise locations owned by the Defendants. Named Plaintiffs claim their former employers, Defendant Denn-Ohio, LLC, violated several state and federal statutes and regulations governing employee pay. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiffs sought leave to amend their complaint to add four additional defendants: PTS Hospitality, LLC; JMAD Hospitality, LLC; Thomas F. Pilbeam; and Jack Thompson. (Doc. No. 21).1 Defendant Denn-Ohio filed a motion in opposition. (Doc. [*2]  No. 25).

Plaintiffs moved for conditional certification of a collective action and for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations for individuals to opt-in to the collective action. (Doc. No. 22). Defendant Denn-Ohio filed a motion to dismiss counts one and two of Plaintiffs' complaint (Doc. No. 7). Denn-Ohio also challenged the Court's personal jurisdiction over any claims against it by employees who work at Denny's restaurants outside the state of Ohio. (Doc. No. 29).

Plaintiff O'Neal worked as a server at a Denny's restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, from 2013 to 2017. (Doc. No. 22-1 at 9). Plaintiff Shepard worked as a server at a Denny's restaurant in Berkshire, Ohio, from 2016 to 2018. (Id.). Plaintiffs allege Defendants operate these, and other Denny's franchise locations, as a "single enterprise" because Defendants perform related activities through unified operation and common control for a common business purpose: the operation of a chain of Denny's restaurants. (Id. at 13).

II. Discussion

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5721 *; 2020 WL 210801

Christy D. O'Neal, et al., Plaintiff v. Denn-Ohio, LLC, Defendant.

CORE TERMS

tipped, regulation, occupation, dual, restaurant, deference, Plaintiffs', employees, ambiguous, preparing, motion to dismiss, non-tipped, server, unrelated, cleaning, opinion letter, allegations, time spent, performing, amend, tasks, agency's interpretation, motion for leave, leave to amend, good cause, occasionally, genuinely, assigned, counts, salad