Crown Castle Asks Court to Halt FLSA Action

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Crown Castle representatives appeared before an Illinois federal judge on Monday to ask that a Fair Labor Standards Act suit be put on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether a rejected settlement offer defeats a class action, Law360 reported. The company wants to wait until the Supreme Court rules on Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. Oral arguments begin in a few weeks. The Supreme Court’s ruling will determine whether a case becomes moot when a plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim.

This is the issue at hand between Crown Castle and lead plaintiff Teresa Wojcik, who rejected a $100,000 offer made to her by Crown Castle after the company “improperly classified her as exempt from overtime payment under the FLSA,” Wojcik alleges (Law360). Law360 explained that she is hoping to represent a class of construction managers she says didn’t actually do the management work necessary to be labeled as exempt under the FLSA or the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. Wojcik claims to work 50 to 60 hours a week, and said the $100,000 would likely cover the overtime she wasn’t paid. This begs the question, “why didn’t she accept the offer?”

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman wondered the same, asking “Why aren’t we done?” Class attorney Jay Edelson of Edelson PC recently took over the case, and said he was still looking into exactly how much Wojcik was owed. Regardless, the Seventh Circuit precedent dictates the case must move forward. The Seventh Ciruit ruled in August that “a defendant’s offer of full relief does not render a plaintiff’s claims moot” (Law360).

Crown Castle attorneys agree that the decision made in August means Wojcik can pursue her claims, but asked the Illinois federal judge to hold off on a ruling until the Supreme Court concludes their case. Judge Feinerman was reluctant to put the case on hold because a decision might not be made by the Supreme Court until June. Instead, he asked for more briefing on the case and set another hearing for the end of the month.

October 8, 2015 |
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