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Bartlett v. City of Chicago

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

January 9, 2015

ROBERT BARLETT, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated SWAT team members on the Chicago Police Department, Plaintiffs,



This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendant City of Chicago (the “City”) to dismiss the first amended complaint brought by Plaintiff Robert Bartlett (“Bartlett”), individually, and on behalf of other similarly situated SWAT team members of the Chicago Police Department (the “CPD”) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the City’s motion to dismiss is denied.


For the purposes of the instant motion, the following well-pleaded allegations derived from Bartlett’s first amended complaint are accepted as true. The Court draws all reasonable inferences in favor of Bartlett. The City is a municipal corporation organized under the laws of the State of Illinois. The CPD is a public agency of the City. The City employs Bartlett as a police officer on the CPD’s SWAT team.

On November 7, 2014, Bartlett filed his first amended complaint as a putative class action, seeking relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) (Count I), the Illinois Wage Payment Collection Act (the “IWPCA”), as amended, § 820 ILCS 115/1, et seq. (Count II), and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (the “IMWL”), 820 ILCS 105/4(a) (Count III) for unpaid compensation, unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages, costs, attorneys’ fees, declaratory and injunctive relief, and any such other relief the Court may deem appropriate. Jurisdiction is proper under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337 and 1367(a).

On November 14, 2014, the City moved to dismiss Count II of Bartlett’s first amended complaint. In Count II, Bartlett alleges that over the past three years, the City has willfully violated the IWPCA by intentionally failing and refusing to pay Bartlett all compensation due to him under the IWPCA and implementing unlawful regulations. Upon information and belief, Bartlett claims that the City has operated a scheme and administered a compensation system that has failed to provide hourly compensation and premium overtime compensation to employees that work while “off the clock.” As a result of the City’s unlawful practice, Bartlett’s rights under the IWPCA were willfully violated because the City was aware, or should have been aware, of its obligations under the IWPCA.

This alleged scheme consisted of the City providing Bartlett with operating procedures, which restricted him from: (i) leaving his personal vehicle unattended while his SWAT gear and weapons were inside the vehicles; and (ii) having any non-police personnel in his personal vehicle while transporting SWAT gear and weapons to and from work. The CPD, under the guidance of the City, also required that Bartlett be available to answer and respond to assignments with his SWAT gear and weapons in his personal vehicles in order to reduce response times. Bartlett contends that he received no compensation, wages, or mileage expenses from the City for the use of his personal vehicle.

Attached to the first amended complaint is the collective bargaining agreement (the “CBA”), which states that the City will provide overtime compensation for “[a]ll time in excess of the hours worked in the normal work day (8 hours) and the normal work week (40 hours) shall be compensated as provided in Section 20.2.” Section 20.2 states:

[a]ll approved overtime in excess of the hours required of an officer by reason of the officer’s regular duty, whether of an emergency nature or of a non-emergency nature, shall be compensated for at the rate of time-and-one-half. Such time shall be computed on the basis of completed fifteen (15)-minute segments. An officer who earns overtime pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) shall be paid overtime compensation at the FLSA rate agreed upon by the parties. An officer who earns non-FLSA overtime shall have the option of electing pay or compensatory time consistent with the provisions of this Agreement.

Section 9.1 in the CBA, entitled “Grievance Procedure, ” describes how the grievance process works, and defines a grievance as “a dispute or difference between the parties to this Agreement concerning interpretation and/or application of this Agreement or its provisions.” Section 9.2, entitled “Procedures, Steps and Time Limits for Standard Grievances” establishes that “[a] grievance may be initiated by the Lodge or an aggrieved officer.” Section 9.11, entitled “Exhaustion” states that “it is the intent of the parties to this Agreement that the procedures set forth in this Article shall be mandatory as to any grievance unless expressly and specifically excluded by the terms of this Agreement.”

On December 9, 2014, Bartlett responded to the instant motion. On December 23, 2014, the City filed its reply.


A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint and not the merits of the case. McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., 694 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). The allegations in a complaint must set forth a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not provide detailed factual allegations but must provide enough factual support to raise her right to relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A claim must be facially plausible, meaning that the pleadings must allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the purported misconduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The claims must be described “in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, 496 F.3d 773, 776 ...

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