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Slayton v. Iowa College Acquisition Corp.

October 5, 2010

DAWANYIA SLAYTON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS OF PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
IOWA COLLEGE ACQUISITION CORP., A DELAWARE CORPORATION, D/B/A KAPLAN UNIVERSITY, AND ALSO D/B/A KAPLAN UNIVERSITY GROUP, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George W. Lindberg

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Dawanyia Slayton filed this putative class action lawsuit against defendant Iowa College Acquisition Corporation, claiming violations of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law ("IMWL"), 820 ILCS 105/1 et seq., and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA"), 820 ILCS 115/1 et seq. Before the Court is plaintiff's motion for class certification. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

Defendant sells products and services relating to education and test preparation, under the names "Kaplan University" and "Kaplan University Group." Plaintiff worked for defendant as a Admissions Advisor, a position in which she was paid an hourly wage to communicate with prospective students about defendant's educational services. In her complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant had a policy of requiring many of its employees, including plaintiff, to work more than forty hours per week, and failing to pay them overtime wages. Plaintiff also alleges that defendant required plaintiff and other employees to perform certain of their duties without compensation.

Plaintiff seeks to certify two sub-classes. Plaintiff's first proposed sub-class, relating to her IMWL claim, consists of:

All persons who worked for Defendant as hourly employees in Illinois at any time between September 24, 2006 and the present who did not receive the full amount of overtime wages earned and owed to them.

Her second proposed sub-class, relating to her IWPCA claim, consists of:

All persons who worked for Defendant as hourly employees in Illinois at any time between September 24, 1999 and the present who did not receive the full amount of hourly wages earned and owed to them.

Plaintiff seeks to certify these classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3).

The Court has broad discretion to determine whether certifying a class is appropriate, and must conduct a "rigorous investigation into the propriety of proceeding as a class." Livingston v. Assocs. Fin., Inc., 339 F.3d 553, 558 (7th Cir. 2003); Keele v. Wexler, 149 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 1998). As the party seeking class certification, plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that certification is proper. See Oshana v. Coca-Cola Co., 472 F.3d 506, 513 (7th Cir. 2006). In order to prevail on her motion, plaintiff must first show that:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;

(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;

(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and

(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). Failure to meet any one of these requirements precludes class certification. Retired Chicago Police Ass'n v. City of Chicago, 7 F.3d 584, 596 (7th Cir. 1993). If plaintiff satisfies these requirements, she must then show that "the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to ...


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