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Casperson v. Aaa Southern New England

Superior Court of Rhode Island

October 13, 2016

WILLIAM CASPERSON, individually and on behalf of a class of persons similarly-situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
AAA SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND, JOHN DOE COMPANIES, 1 through 10, inclusive, and JOHN DOES, 1 through 10 inclusive, Defendants.

         Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: V. Edward Formisano, Esq.

          For Defendant: Brendan J. Lowd, Esq. Christina L. Lewis, Esq.

          DECISION

          SILVERSTEIN, J.

         Before the Court for decision is Defendant AAA Southern New England's[1](hereinafter, AAA) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on Plaintiff William Casperson's (hereinafter, Casperson) remaining count for unpaid wages in this putative class action suit. AAA asserts that the Court must find for it as there is no private cause of action under the statute that Casperson has invoked to support his claim for premium wages. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14.

         I Facts and Travel

         AAA is a Delaware corporation duly registered with the State of Rhode Island and maintains its principal place of business in the City of Providence. Additionally, AAA employs individuals in the State of Rhode Island and is engaged in the motor vehicle service industry, providing "roadside assistance" services to its customers, including, but not limited to: towing, mechanical adjustments, vehicle fuel delivery, battery replacement, vehicle extrication, and lockout services.

         On October 19, 2009, AAA hired Casperson as a tow truck driver. During his tenure at AAA, he was required to work on Sundays on a weekly basis for at least eight hours per week. He earned $11.50 per hour and worked twenty-four hours per week, including Sundays and holidays. In June 2011, Casperson became a permanent, full-time flatbed driver for AAA. At that time, he earned $12.50 per hour and worked thirty-nine hours per week, including Sundays and holidays. AAA terminated Casperson on March 13, 2014, presumably for reasons unrelated to his work schedule.

         On December 15, 2014, Casperson filed this action against AAA alleging: (I) violations of the Payment of Wages Act (hereinafter, the Wage Act); (II) violations of the Rhode Island Work on Holidays and Sundays Act (hereinafter, the Sunday Pay Act); and (III) unjust enrichment. AAA moved to dismiss the claims under Super. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), which this Court granted in part and denied in part on December 22, 2015. In its Decision, the Court dismissed Counts I and III of the Complaint, but denied AAA's motion as to Count II-the Sunday Pay Act claim.

         On January 19, 2016, AAA filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Casperson's Complaint, denying most of Casperson's allegations and raising various defenses. AAA now moves for a judgment on the pleadings under Super. R. Civ. P. 12(c), arguing the Sunday Pay Act does not provide a private cause of action for alleged unpaid premium pay wages. Naturally, Casperson opposes the motion. Therefore, the issue is whether Casperson may maintain this private action under the Sunday Pay Act.

         II Standard of Review

         The criteria that the Court considers in deciding whether to grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings is well settled in this jurisdiction. "A Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings provides a trial court with the means of disposing of a case early in the litigation process when the material facts are not in dispute after the pleadings have been closed and only questions of law remain to be decided." Haley v. Town of Lincoln, 611 A.2d 845, 847 (R.I. 1992). A Rule 12(c) motion "is the same as the standard applicable to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss." Przygoda v. Clifford J. Deck, CPA, Inc., 2010 WL 1956239, at *2 (R.I. Super. May 12, 2010). "When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the trial justice must look no further than the complaint, assume that all allegations in the complaint are true, and resolve any doubts in a [non-movant's] favor." R.I. Affiliate, ACLU v. Bernasconi, 557 A.2d 1232, 1232 (R.I. 1989). Therefore, a court should only grant a Rule 12(c) motion when the moving party is able to demonstrate to a certainty that the non-moving party will not be entitled to relief under any set of facts that might be proved at trial. Haley, 611 A.2d at 847.

         III Discussion

         1 Casperson's Erroneous Interpretation of ...


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