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Roe-Midgett v. CC Services

March 16, 2006

PAULA M. ROE-MIDGETT, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COLLECTIVE ACTION AND CLASS ACTION REPRESENTATIVE AND PAUL DECKER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COLLECTIVE ACTION AND CLASS ACTION REPRESENTATIVE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CC SERVICES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. Introduction and Procedural Background

Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to sever and remand (Doc. 89). Specifically, Plaintiffs move the Court to sever and remand Count II of their First Amended Complaint, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law claims, because the state law claims substantially predominate over the claims contained in Count I, the Fair Labor Standards Act claims. Defendant opposes the motion. Based on the following, the Court grants the motion to sever and remand.

On January 30, 2004, Roe, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated individuals, filed a two-count complaint against Illinois Agricultural Association and CC Services, Inc. ("CC Services") in the Williamson County, Illinois Circuit Court alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") (Count I) and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law ("IMWL") (Count 2) (Doc. 2).*fn1 Specifically, Roe's complaint alleges that CC Services unlawfully classified her as exempt from overtime payments under Federal and State laws and failed and refuses to pay her and the putative class members overtime pay for overtime work. Count I is a putative collective action under the FLSA and Count II is a putative class action under the IMWL. On March 2, 2004, Defendants removed the case to this Court based on federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. 1367 (Doc. 1).

On July 16, 2004, the Court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc. 39). On August 10, 2004, Magistrate Judge Proud allowed Roe leave to file a First Amended Complaint which Roe filed on August 16, 2004 (Doc. 43). The First Amended Complaint added Paul Decker as a name Plaintiff against CC Services (Doc. 43). Count I alleges violations of the FLSA and Count II alleges violations of the IMWL. On October 2, 2004, Plaintiffs filed a motion to certify a collective action of persons pursuant to the FLSA (Doc. 45). On November 16, 2004, CC Services and Plaintiffs filed a joint stipulated certification of a collective action with respect to four classes: Material Damage Appraiser II ("MDA II") Field Claim Rep II (FCR II), Field Claim Rep III (FRC III) and Property Specialist I (PS I) (Doc. 49). On July 18, 2005, Plaintiffs moved to amend their complaint to bring collective and class-action claims for three new named Plaintiffs and three new employee classifications (Doc. 59). On August 10, 2005, the Court denied the motion for to amend (Doc. 69).

Now before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to sever and remand (Doc. 89). Specifically, Plaintiffs seek to sever and remand Count II, the IMWL claims, arguing that Plaintiffs' IMWL claims substantially predominate over the FLSA claims as significantly greater number of persons have an exclusive interest in the state claims and no interest in the federal claims. Plaintiffs contend that Count II should be severed and remanded "[t]o serve the legitimate interests of all putative state class members..." Defendant responds that the Court has properly exercised supplemental jurisdiction, that the state law claims do not substantially predominate over the FLSA claims and that the differences between the FLSA and the IMWL do not exist.

II. Analysis

A federal court's authority to exercise supplemental jurisdiction is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) which states:

Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) or as expressly provided otherwise by Federal statute, in any civil action of which district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to the claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.

28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

Here, the Court finds that the instant FLSA claims and the IMWL claims share a common nucleus of operative fact and that IMWL claims arise from the same controversy, the payment of overtime hours, as does the FLSA claims. The Court also notes that the IMWL claims are contingent on the FLSA claims. See Kennedy v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 410 F.3d 365, 376 (7th Cir. 2005)(820 ILCS 105/4a(2)(E) making a violation of the IMWL contingent on establishing a violation under the FLSA). The Court finds that the federal subject matter jurisdiction covers the FLSA claims, and that therefore, the Court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the IMWL claims.

Section 1367 provides exceptions, though, to supplemental jurisdiction, and a district court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction, subject to section 1367(c). Specifically, section 1367(c) reads:

The district courts may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a) if-- (1) the claim raises a novel or complex issue of State law, (2) the claim substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction, (3) the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, ...


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