A Chicago federal judge has dismissed a busboy's lawsuit claiming a local Mediterranean restaurant didn't pay him proper overtime wages.
U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. ruled July 11 plaintiff Fidel Trujillo did not provide "sufficient facts to state a claim" regarding his allegations against the defendants, Mediterranean Kitchens Inc. and owner Falah Tabahi, who operate the Pita Inn restaurant, according to the court opinion.
Trujillo worked as a busboy and dishwasher for Pita Inn from May 2006 to August 2016. He claimed in his lawsuit against his former employer that, during his 10 years as an employee, he worked "more than 40 hours weekly in one or more individual weeks." Trujillo claimed the restaurant gave him a paycheck for the 40 hours he worked, but paid him in cash when he worked more than 40 hours. .
Trujillo claimed that at some point, his employer did not pay him overtime wages, as required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Pita Inn moved to dismiss the motion, arguing Trujillo did not provide enough facts to back his assertions. The district court agreed, finding Trujillo did not specify the week or weeks for which he was allegedly unpaid, only claiming it happened “in one or more individual work weeks.”
According to the judge, his failure to be specific about exactly when he was underpaid could mean it happened in just a single week more than a decade ago, or even that he was underpaid for more than 520 weeks. Additionally, the plaintiff's complaint does not provide any information about his pay rate.
Tharp found Trujillo's complaint was "too conclusory and too vague" to state a plausible claim. The case was dismissed.
The judge granted Trujillo the opportunity to refile his complaint by Aug. 11.
Trujillo was represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Caffarelli & Associates, of Chicago.
The Pita Inn defendants were represented by the firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson, of Chicago.