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Bell v. PNC Bank, N.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

March 31, 2015, Argued; August 31, 2015, Decided

No. 14-3018


 [*365]  Rovner, Circuit Judge. Mariseli Gomez Bell alleged that her former employer, PNC Bank, failed to pay her overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-262, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS 105/1-105/15 and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, 820 ILCS 115/1-115/15. Bell claims that the failure was not an isolated incident, but rather part of a policy or practice of PNC that affected many other employees. Consequently she successfully moved the district court to certify a class of plaintiffs. We affirm.

The district court set forth an extensive and [**2]  thorough recitation of the facts in this case, from which we borrow liberally. Bell worked as a senior banker at the PNC branch at Broadway and Berwyn Streets in Chicago from June 1, 2009, through May 31, 2011. Bell submitted an affidavit from which the district court extracted facts about her knowledge of PNC's overtime policies and practices. R. 65, apx.1-7. In her affidavit, Bell states that she was evaluated, in part, on the basis of how many new accounts she brought into the bank, and in order to generate new accounts she needed to spend "significant" time outside of her regular work hours visiting prospective clients. Some of the assignments to visit prospective clients came from Greg Bolden, a PNC vice president who did not work at the Broadway and Berwyn branch. The overtime work was necessary, she asserted, because the branch was understaffed and could not spare her absence, including, at times, during her lunch breaks.

According to Bell, when she submitted time cards reflecting overtime work, her branch manager, Letticia Flores, rejected the time cards and told Bell that PNC "would not permit the overtime." R. 65, apx.3.2 Flores also submitted an affidavit describing her personal [**3]  knowledge of PNC's overtime policies and practices. Flores is now deceased and cannot be cross-examined, but in her affidavit, Flores states that her supervisor, Christina Romis, a PNC regional manager, told her that "PNC would not permit [Flores] to report overtime for the branch," and "PNC expected its employees to handle their outside-the-branch work on their own time, without reporting any extra hours that they worked." Id., apx.10. Bell also averred that Romis told her that PNC "would not permit overtime to be reported by employees." Id., apx.3. PNC, however, has always had written policies prohibiting off-the-clock work and requiring payment for overtime hours.

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800 F.3d 360 *; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15403 **; 165 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P36,374; 25 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 414

MARISELI GOMEZ BELL, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. PNC BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, Defendant-Appellant.

Subsequent History: As Corrected September 4, 2015.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 12-C-1274 — Thomas M. Durkin, Judge.

Gomez v. PNC Bank, N.A., 306 F.R.D. 156, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100626 (N.D. Ill., 2014)


overtime, apx, employees, district court, class certification, branch manager, overtime hours, predominance, unofficial, merits, class member, records, lunch break, unpaid, common question, off-the-clock, certify, overtime pay, investigations, class-wide, questions, commonality, harmed, question of law, proposed class, class action, certification, interrupted, damages, investigation report

Civil Procedure, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Appellate Review, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Preponderance of Evidence, Certification of Classes, Prerequisites for Class Action, General Overview, Commonality, Predominance, Allocation