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D'ANGELO v. J&F STEEL CORPORATION

April 11, 2003

TERRY D'ANGELO AND LINDA
v.
PAPLAUSKI, PLAINTIFFS, V. J&F STEEL CORPORATION, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ronald A. Guzman, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In this suit, brought pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 82 ILCS 105/1 et seq., plaintiff Terry D'Angelo ("D'Angelo") has sued J&F Steel Corporation ("J&F"), a Delaware corporation, for alleged unpaid overtime wages. Presently before this Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment and/or partial summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 56. For the reasons stated herein, defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.

FACTS

The following facts are undisputed, unless where noted. Plaintiff Terry D'Angelo was hired as a shipping clerk by J&F Steel in January of 1985. (Pl.'s Ex. 1., D'Angelo Dep., at 6.) Until January 1, 2001, J&F Steel was incorporated in Illinois. (Pl.'s Ex. 2., Thien Dep., at 1-3.) On January 1, 2001, J&F Steel switched its state of incorporation from Illinois to Delaware. (Id.)

Plaintiff was referred to at J&F Steel as "shipping clerk" and "shipping manager." (D'Angelo Dep., at 12.) Plaintiff received a regular salary, at regular intervals, and was paid more than $250 per week. (Thien Dep., at 4.) Some of her duties at J&F Steel included answering telephones, typing, filing, time card preparation, preparing delivery shipments, and other office work. (D'Angelo Dep., at 11-17.) Plaintiff was responsible for "getting the steel out the door to customers." (Id.)

Plaintiff's responsibilities revolved around shipping. (Id. at 13.) She prepared the necessary paperwork for steel delivery, looked up directions to shipping offices, and made arrangements for load pickups. (Id. at 9-14.) In her deposition, plaintiff stated that her responsibilities were to "prepare and get everything ready." (Id. at 13.) She stated that she was the "bottom rung" of the plant's functioning. (Id. at 130-131.) Plaintiff's normal work hours were between six or six-thirty a.m. to four or four-thirty p.m. (Id. at 19.) Plaintiff also asserts that she originally was paid overtime wages for these duties, but that that practice stopped either in late 1997 or early 1998. (Id. at 8.)

Plaintiff coordinated with J&F Steel's plant manager to ensure that steel delivery had been accomplished. (Id. at 18.) This process would involve determining where the steel was bound for and who was receiving it, calling the truck lines or customers in advance of shipments, and determining whether J&F trucks could be used to make the deliveries. (Id. at 20.) it was also necessary to coordinate with in-house drivers regarding the number of stops they had to make and the scheduled time for their pickups. (Id. at 21.) Plaintiff made calls to truck lines as part of her job as dispatcher. (Id. at 23.) On rare occasions, when the plant manager was absent, plaintiff would perform these duties on her own. (Id. at 19-20.)

Plaintiff's job included making sure truckers received proper bills of lading for their shipping loads, and received proper directions on where to take those loads. (Id. at 19.) Any complaints by truckers would first go through plaintiff, and then she would consult with the plant manager. (Id.)

It was plaintiff's job to "sometimes" help solve any problems that truckers might encounter. (Id. at 23.24.) She was responsible for drawing up a dispatching schedule and regulating dispatching. (Id. at 28.) Plaintiff dealt with these responsibilities "all day." (Id. at 24.)

Plaintiff stated in her deposition that coordinating the dispatch function was the "core" of J&F Steel. (Id. at 27.) She also coordinated sales functions for the company. (Id. at 128.) Plaintiff was the only J&F Steel employee who coordinated dispatching on a fill-time basis. (Id. at 30.) The Assistant Plant Manager had these responsibilities on a part-time basis, when plaintiff was sick or on vacation. (Id.) At no time did plaintiff engage in any manual or physical labor. (Id. at 32.)

It was plaintiff's responsibility to set a revised schedule to meet a customer's needs when that situation arose. (Id. at 33.) Plaintiff described this process in her deposition as the "heart of the operation." (Id. at 35.) It was also "sometimes" part of her responsibilities to coordinate with truck lines so that trucks could be used to both bring in and ship out material from the plant. (Id. at 37-38.) In the Plant Manager's absence, plaintiff would "remind" the Assistant Plant Manager of certain functions that needed to be performed, and "sales" would contact her directly with a "hot order." (Id. at 45-46.)

Plaintiff, in her role as Shipping Manager, reported directly to the Plant Manager. (Id. at 58.) In her deposition, plaintiff stated that she "was the core of the apple. If I didn't get the steel out, they didn't get paid." (Id. at 116.) Plaintiff never turned in a slip for alleged overtime hours at J&F Steel in 1999 or 2000; however, plaintiff asserts this is because she was told by managers that she would not receive overtime compensation. (Id. at 6. 16.)

Plaintiff contends that she was in training for the position of Quality Control Manager until the plant closed down. (Id. at 57, 64-65, 70.) Plaintiff had the title of Quality Control Manager, but still performed the Sipping Manager's duties on a part-time basis. (Id. at 57.) She was salaried at approximately $44,000 per year and, as Quality Control Manager, reported directly to the plant branch manager; (Id. at 61.) Plaintiff considered being made Quality Control Manager as a promotion. (Id.) As Quality Control Manager, plaintiff reported to the branch manager, who in turn reported to the J&F Steel president (Id. at 81-82.) Quality control is part of the "core" of J&F Steel Corporation. (Id. at 95.) Additionally, as of January 1, 1998, plaintiff was never docked pay for taking days off due to illness or personal reasons. (Id. at 80.)

Plaintiff had the authority to write corrective actions against other employees at the plant. Other employees at the plant also had this authority. (Id. at 53-56.) She wrote corrective actions on more than one occasion. (Id. at 82-83.) The corrective actions covered verbal/sexual abuse, negligence, or absenteeism. (Id. at ...


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