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Bachman v. Bachman

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

July 8, 2019

JAMES E. BACHMAN, ADELLA A. BACHMAN, ERIC J. BACHMAN, RACHEL A. BACHMAN, and MATTHEW R. BACHMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOHN Q. BACHMAN, and LEAF SUPREME PRODUCTS, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Laurie Smith Camp Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and Second Amended Motion for Preliminary Injunction, ECF Nos. 2, 7, 8, and 9, filed by Plaintiffs James, Adella, Eric, Rachel, and Matthew Bachman. Defendant Leaf Supreme Products, LLC (Leaf Supreme) filed a response, captioned a “Motion to Deny Request for Injunctive Relief.” ECF No. 5. For the reasons stated below, the motions for preliminary injunctive relief will be denied; Leaf Supreme's motion will be denied as moot, and the parties will be ordered to show cause as to why this case should not be stayed pending the resolution of parallel state court proceedings.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are based on the pleadings, evidence, and arguments submitted in support of the parties' various Motions.

         Leaf Supreme is a Nebraska limited liability company formed in June 2016. Defendant John Q. Bachman[1] is a member and majority owner of Leaf Supreme. The remaining members are three minority shareholders who are not parties to this action. Plaintiffs have been Leaf Supreme's only employees. Plaintiffs assert that from October 1, 2016, to present, they have not been paid any wages. Plaintiffs allege that John Q. Bachman ordered that no wages would be paid until Leaf Supreme had sufficient cash flow. Plaintiffs claim that during the relevant period, each of them worked over 50 hours per week.

         On January 17, 2019, the shareholders of Leaf Supreme entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to sell Leaf Supreme to Contractor Metals, LLC. Although not specified in the Complaint, Plaintiffs appear to own or be closely associated with Contractor Metals. Contractor Metals agreed to assume Leaf Supreme's liabilities and agreed to immediately contribute funds to pay Leaf Supreme's operating expenses. The sale was set to close on February 28, 2019. Due to disagreements about John Q. Bachman's security interests in Contractor Metals' assets, the sale did not close.

         In March 2019, John Q. Bachman informed Plaintiffs that he intended to close Leaf Supreme. Plaintiffs filed a wage and hour complaint with the United States Department of Labor. From March 1, 2019, to July 3, 2019, Plaintiffs continued working at Leaf Supreme to prevent it from closing because they had loaned more than $500, 000 to Leaf Supreme.

         On June 6, 2019, Leaf Supreme filed an action in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, No. CI 19-4497 (the “State Court Action”). In the State Court Action, Leaf Supreme asserted that James and Adella Bachman did not have permission to continue to act as employees or managers in Leaf Supreme's operations. On June 14, 2019, Leaf Supreme obtained a temporary restraining order (the “TRO”) in the State Court Action, enjoining James and Adella Bachman from conducting business on Leaf Supreme's behalf and requiring them to turn over their keys and allow Leaf Supreme's owners to enter Leaf Supreme's premises. State Court Order at 1-2, ECF No. 5, PageID.77-78.

         On June 17, 2019, James and Adella Bachman removed the State Court Action to this Court, asserting federal question jurisdiction because the State Court Action was “a retaliatory labor action . . . in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Leaf Supreme Products, LLC v. Bachman et al., No. 8:19-cv-00261, ECF No. 1 (D. Neb. Jun. 17, 2019). The Court remanded the case because the State Court Action itself asserted no federal question and the parties lacked diversity of citizenship. See id., ECF Nos. 11, 17.

         On June 25, 2019, Plaintiffs filed this action. Plaintiffs assert three causes of action. First, they allege Defendants failed to pay wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 206 and 215(a)(2). Second, they allege the State Court Action is a retaliatory action in violation of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). They seek back wages and other damages for both FLSA claims. Third, they allege unjust enrichment based on Defendants' alleged breach of the MOU after Contractor Metals contributed funds for Leaf Supreme's operation.

         According to Plaintiffs, the Douglas County District Court re-entered the TRO on July 3, 2019. In their pending Motions, the Plaintiffs seek to enjoin “the Douglas County District Court (CI 19-4497) until this lawsuit has been completely adjudicated.” ECF No. 7, PageID.82. Plaintiffs also request that the Court “[r]etain the Plaintiffs to control of Leaf Supreme, ” place the parties in the position they were in prior to the State Court Action, prohibit further retaliatory action, and impose sanctions for Defendants' alleged failure to release funds held by Security National Bank. Plaintiffs request an emergency hearing.

         The Court has reviewed the pleadings, evidence, and the parties' arguments, and concludes that a hearing on this matter is unnecessary at this time and that the motions appearing at ECF Nos. 8 and 9 should be denied.

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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