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Lori Curless, On Behalf of Herself and v. Great American Real Food Fast

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


February 25, 2011

LORI CURLESS, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GREAT AMERICAN REAL FOOD FAST, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Lori Curless' Motion to Bifurcate (Doc. 30), to which Defendant Great American Real Food Fast ("Great American") filed an expedited Response (Doc. 32).

Specifically, in light of the looming March 1, 2011, deadline for Curless to move for conditional certification of her Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") claim, she requests bifurcation of any such motion. Specifically, Curless asks for a March 1 deadline to file a motion for conditional certification as to Great American's Illinois locations and for a June 15 deadline as to Great American's non-Illinois locations.

The instant motion arises form Curless' concern that she will not have all relevant discovery relating to Great American's non-Illinois locations between now and the current, sole deadline (March 1) for any motion to conditionally certify. Great American's response brief, however, makes clear that it has produced such discovery by fully complying with Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams' Memorandum and Order (Doc. 29) of January 14. Curless also expresses general concern over the statute of limitations relating to the claims of potential plaintiffs who worked at Great American's non-Illinois locations, but this concern is not specifically articulated enough to warrant consideration. Moreover, this concern may be alleviated by equitable tolling of the applicable statute of limitations. See, e.g., Abadeer v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 3:09-0125, 2010 WL 5158873, at *2-4 (MD. Tenn. Dec. 14, 2010). And, there is nothing stopping Curless from immediately notifying those Great American's tipped employees of whose names and addresses it now knows about this lawsuit.

Being fully advised of the premises, especially the importance of judicial economy, the Court DENIES Curless' Motion to Bifurcate (Doc. 30). Nevertheless, in light of Great American's very recent production of relevant documents, the Court ORDERS that Curless shall have up to and including May 1, 2011, to file a single, consolidated motion to conditionally certify.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20110225

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