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United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
October 8, 2014, Decided; October 8, 2014, Filed
No. 14 C 3258
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff LaTonya Lee filed a five-count putative class action complaint alleging that her former employer, defendant The Children's Place Retail Store, Inc. ("TCP"), failed to pay actual and overtime compensation to her and other employees (non-exempt, store-level employees) in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. (Count I, II, & III), the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS § 105, et seq. (Count IV), and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, 820 § 115/1, et seq. (Count V). Defendant has filed the instant motion to strike class allegations pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c)(1)(A) and (d)(1)(D) and 29 U.S.C. § 216(b), contending that plaintiff cannot establish typicality and adequacy of representation, Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(3)-(4). For the following reasons, defendant's [*2] motion is granted.
Plaintiff, an hourly employee, was employed by defendant TCP as an assistant manager. Plaintiff alleges that defendant withheld actual and overtime pay from her and other employees by requiring them to perform work off-the-clock, without compensation. Specifically, plaintiff complains that she and other members of the class were required to work off-the-clock in the morning prior to the start of their shifts, were regularly interrupted to perform work during unpaid meal breaks, and that defendant frequently initiated telephone conversations with them during scheduled time off.
I. Motion to Strike Class Allegations
Defendant brings its motion to strike class allegations pursuant to Rule 23(c)(1)(A) and (d)(1)(D). Rule 23(c)(1)(A) provides that the court, "[a]t an early practicable time after a person sues or is sued as a class representative, the court must determine by order whether to certify the action as a class action." Rule 23(d)(1)(D) provides that, "[i]n conducting an action under this rule, the court may issue orders that . . . require that the pleadings be amended to eliminate allegations about representation of absent persons and that the action proceed accordingly." Contrary to plaintiff's contention [*3] that such motions are disfavored, courts in this district and others have held that a motion to strike class allegations, made pursuant to these provisions, is an appropriate device to determine whether the case will proceed as a class action. E.g., Muehlbauer v. General Motors Corp., 431 F. Supp. 2d 847, 870 (N.D. Ill. 2006); Valentine v. WideOpen West Finance, LLC, 288 F.R.D. 407, 414 (N.D. Ill. 2012); Buonomo v. Optimum Outcomes, Inc., No. 13-CV-5274, 301 F.R.D. 292, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33973, 2014 WL 1013841, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 17, 2014); Cornette v. Jenny Garton Ins. Agency, Inc., No. 2:10-CV-60, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52809, 2010 WL 2196533, at *2 (N.D. W. Va. May 27, 2010).
Although it will often not be "practicable" for the court to determine whether to certify the case as a class action at the pleading stage, "sometimes the complaint will make it clear that class certification is inappropriate." Hill v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 946 F. Supp. 2d 817, 829 (N.D. Ill. 2013); see also Kasalo v. Harris & Harris, Ltd., 656 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2011) ("Consistent with [Rule 23(c)(1)(A)'s] language, a court may deny class certification even before the plaintiff files a motion requesting certification."). The Supreme Court has recognized as much, noting that "[s]ometimes the issues are plain enough from the pleadings to determine whether the interests of the absent parties are fairly encompassed within the named plaintiff's claim." Gen. Tel. Co. of Sw. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 160, 102 S. Ct. 2364, 72 L. Ed. 2d 740 (1982). In such circumstances, a court may determine that class certification is inappropriate prior to the parties conducting class discovery. Buonomo, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33973, 2014 WL 1013841, at *2.
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2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145787 *; 2014 WL 5100608
LATONYA LEE, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff, v. THE CHILDREN'S PLACE RETAIL STORES, INC., Defendant.
allegations, certification, employees, class certification, class member, collective action, class action, discovery, defense motion, conflicts, proposed class, putative class, off-the-clock, defenses, argues, putative class member, assistant manager, district court, pleadings, courts, modest