United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
January 7, 2005.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PHILIP REINHARD, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Defendant, Motorola, Inc., has filed a request for
reconsideration of an order of the magistrate judge ruling that
plaintiff's purported representative claims under the Family
Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (FMLA), should be
litigated as class action claims in accordance with Fed.R. Civ.
P. 23 as opposed to "collective actions" under the Fair Labor
Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b)(FLSA), and, therefore, denying
defendant's motion for a protective order and ordering that
defendant provide certain discovery.
The court has designated the magistrate judge to hearing the
underlying discovery matter pursuant to Rule 636(b)(1)(A). The
court may reconsider the ruling of the magistrate judge in this
regard "where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's order
is clearly erroneous or contrary to law."
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).
In this case, the magistrate judge did not decide the ultimate
issue of whether this action can be pursued as a class action
under Rule 23, rather, he limited his ruling to the threshold
legal issue of whether plaintiff's action could proceed as a
class action under Rule 23 or as a "collective action" under the
FLSA. This ruling was necessary because the result would
determine the extent of discovery to which plaintiff would
potentially be allowed and the concomitant ruling on defendant's
motion for a protective order in that regard.
The magistrate judge decided that Rule 23 applied to a
representative action under the FMLA and, therefore, because of
the broader discovery allowable in a class action, denied
defendant's motion for a protective order and ordered defendant
to produce certain documents and make certain individuals
available for deposition. Defendant's request for reconsideration
only challenges the legal ruling regarding the representative
action and does not otherwise raise any issues as to the
discovery allowed by the magistrate judge's order.
The court has carefully reviewed the order of the magistrate
judge, thoroughly considered the arguments and authority
presented by defendant, and conducted its own research. Having
done so, the court agrees with the analysis and decision of the
magistrate judge regarding this issue of first impression. A
representative action under the FMLA should proceed, if at all,
as a class action under Rule 23 and not as a "collective action"
under the FLSA.
Finding that the magistrate judge's ruling is not contrary to
law, the court denies defendant's request for reconsideration.
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