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Younie v. City of Hartley

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

April 9, 2015

MARK YOUNIE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HARTLEY, IOWA, Defendant

For Mark Younie, Plaintiff: Abbe M Stensland, LEAD ATTORNEY, Graham Robert Carl, Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA.

For Hartley Iowa, City of, Defendant: Stephen F Avery, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrea Michelle Smook, Cornwall, Avery, Bjornstad & Scott, Spencer, IA.

Page 1059

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

LEONARD T. STRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is before me on a motion (Doc. No. 4) by defendant City of Hartley, Iowa (the City), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff Mark Younie (Younie) has filed a resistance (Doc. No. 9). The City did not file a reply. While the City has requested an evidentiary hearing, for reasons I will explain below I find that such a hearing is not necessary. The motion is fully submitted and ready for decision.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Younie filed his complaint and jury demand (Doc. No. 2) on October 16, 2014. He alleges that he was employed by the City as its police chief pursuant to a written contract until January 21, 2014, when his employment was terminated. He contends that his discharge was (a) in retaliation for conduct protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), (b) a breach of contract and (c) a violation of Iowa public policy. Doc. No. 2, Counts I, II and IV. He further contends that the City violated the Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act by failing to pay certain wages after the termination, as allegedly required by the parties' contract. Id., Count III. Younie alleges that this court has federal question jurisdiction over Count I and supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining, state law claims. Id. at ¶ 3.

The City responded to the complaint by filing its present motion on November 17, 2014. The parties later consented to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct all proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Doc. No. 12. As such, this case has been referred to me. Id.

III. RELEVANT FACTS

Younie's Factual Allegations. Younie alleges that he was employed by the City as its police chief pursuant to an agreement dated November 8, 2011, and that he was employed " to work a typical 40-hour per week schedule." Doc. No. 2 at ¶ ¶ 5-6. However, he contends that in September 2013, the City's Mayor (Clayton Pyle) instructed him to begin working 45 hours per week. Id. at 10. Younie states that on September 13, 2013, he responded to the Mayor's request by submitting a written grievance in which he asserted that the 45-hour work week would violate the FLSA. Id. at ¶ 12. He alleges that he had a good faith belief that he was entitled to overtime compensation for any law enforcement activities performed in excess of 40 hours per week. Id. at ¶ 19.

Next, according to the complaint, Mayor Pyle issued an " Order of Removal" on January 3, 2014, that purported to terminate Younie's employment as police chief. Id. at ¶ 14. Younie alleges that the City Council voted to approve the termination on January 21, 2014, meaning his discharge became effective on that date. Id. at ¶ ¶ 16-17.

Additional Facts Presented by the City. In support of its motion, the City has submitted the affidavit (Doc. No. 4-2) of Patricia Anderson, the City Clerk, which indicates, among other things, that the City's police department has consisted of no more than three individuals since at least August 5, 2010. Doc. No. 4-2 at ¶ ¶ 1-2. Those individuals have included a police chief and one or two full-time officers. Id. at ...


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