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Acevedo v. Ace Coffee Bar

February 25, 2008

MARIA GUADALUPE ACEVEDO AND MARIA CECILIA ACEVEDO, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED KNOWN AND UNKNOWN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ACE COFFEE BAR, INC., AND RODNEY D. CAVITT, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morton Denlow United States Magistrate Judge

Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Maria Guadalupe Acevedo and Maria Cecilia Acevedo ("Plaintiffs") filed suit under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq. ("FLSA"), the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS 105/1 et seq., and the Illinois Wage Payment Collection Act, 820 ILCS 115/1 et seq. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants Ace Coffee Bar, Inc. and Rodney D. Cavitt ("Defendants") failed to pay overtime wages to Plaintiffs and other similarly situated persons. Before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery. The discovery relates to Defendants' failure to respond to specific interrogatories and requests for the production of documents. The Court held oral argument on February 11, 2008. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion in part and denies it in part.

I. BACKGROUND FACTS

Plaintiffs sue on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated for overtime wages incurred while working over 40 hours per week, and for Defendants' failure to pay them at the rate agreed to during their employment. Plaintiffs allege they and other similarly situated hourly employees customarily worked over 40 hours each week but were not paid at the overtime wage rate of one and a half times their regular rate of pay for all time worked after forty hours. Plaintiffs worked in Defendants' "commissary," the assembly line where foods are processed, prepared, and packaged by employees for shipping. Plaintiff Maria G. Acevedo worked as a salad wrapper, and Plaintiff Maria C. Acevedo worked as a food labeler in Defendants' Streamwood, Illinois facility.

Plaintiffs issued written discovery to Defendants on December 4, 2007, including Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. At issue is the following Interrogatory No. 6 and Document Request No.1 and responses thereto:

Interrogatory No. 6: For each person employed by Defendants in the three (3) years prior to Plaintiff filing her Complaint to the present and who either: (a) was compensated by Defendants on an hourly basis, or who (b) performed the same or similar job duties or responsibilities that Plaintiff performed, state his or her: (a) Name; (b) Home Address; (c) Telephone Number; (d) Dates of employment by Defendants; (e) Location(s) of employment; and (f) Employee Number. If available, provide the information in electronic and importable format (i.e., Microsoft Excel (.xls) or Symbolic Link (SYLK) (.slk)) if possible.

Answer: Please see EXHIBIT A attached hereto. The Exhibit contains a list of all hourly commissary workers during the relevant time period.*fn1

Request No. 1: A list, in electronic and importable format (i.e., Microsoft Excel (.xls) or Symbolic Link (SYLK)(.slk)) for Plaintiffs and each other hourly employee employed by Defendants in the five years prior to the Complaint being filed. Such information should include, but not necessarily be limited to the following data fields: (a) Name of employee; (b) Employee's address and telephone number; (c) Employee's dates of employment; and (d) Employee number. If such information does not exist in electronic format, then a hard copy of such information should be produced.

Answer: Please see Defendants' Answer to Plaintiffs' Interrogatory No. 6 and Exhibit A attached thereto. (Pl. Mot. Compel, Ex. A, Plaintiffs First Set of Interrogatories).

Attorneys for both parties discussed their discovery issues on January 8, 2008 and Defendants agreed to answer the written discovery requests by January 18, 2008. According to Plaintiffs, on January 11, 2008, Defendants informed Plaintiffs' counsel they would not answer Plaintiffs' discovery requests pertaining to similarly situated employees. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion to compel with Judge Coar on January 14, 2008. On January 18, 2008, Defendants submitted answers to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents, providing the names, employee numbers, and dates of employment of commissary employees paid on an hourly basis, but omitting the addresses and telephone numbers of such employees. Plaintiffs now move to compel Defendants to fully respond to Interrogatory No. 6 and Document Request No. 1 with respect to similarly situated individuals.

Plaintiffs contend they are entitled to the names and addresses of similarly situated employees because they are entitled to issue notice to similarly situated employees under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Plaintiffs further argue the nature of their case requires that they rely on testimony from other sources to prove their claim.

Defendants object on the grounds that they are not authorized to provide Plaintiffs with employees' personal information. They argue Plaintiffs' need for such information does not outweigh their employees' right to keep personal information confidential. In addition, Defendants assert ...


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