United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
BRIAN HUDGINS and JONATHAN RONDENO, on their own behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
TOTAL QUALITY LOGISTICS, LLC Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY United States District Judge.
decision, the Court considers issues left open in its
previous order, Hudgins v. Total Quality Logistics,
LLC, No. 16 C 7331, 2016 WL 7426135 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 23,
2016). The Court assumes familiarity with the factual and
procedural background set out in that order.
brief summary, Brian Hudgins and Jonathan Rondeno are two
former employees of Total Quality Logistics, Inc. (TQL) who
have filed a class action complaint alleging that TQL failed
to pay them overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA). Plaintiffs moved for conditional certification of
two classes and asked the Court to authorize giving notice to
potential class members. At the time of that motion,
twenty-six additional former TQL employees had joined as
plaintiffs. TQL then moved to compel arbitration of the
claims brought by nine of these plaintiffs.
Court conditionally certified plaintiffs' class and
authorized notice to potential class members. See
generally id. The Court also ordered supplemental
briefing by both parties on TQL's motion to compel
arbitration. In a status conference on January 5, 2017, the
Court requested additional briefing regarding whether it
should send notice only to those potential class members who
have not signed arbitration agreements. Since the Court's
approval of conditional certification of the classes, over
forty-five more former TQL employees have joined as
plaintiffs. Because these employees were not named plaintiffs
at the time that the parties briefed the motion to compel
arbitration, their claims are unaffected by the ruling in
reasons stated below, the Court strikes the class action
waiver found in the arbitration agreements of nine plaintiffs
and grants TQL's request to dismiss their claims. The
Court also concludes that the authorization to send notice
extends only to those members of the previously approved
classes who have not signed arbitration agreements with TQL.
Motion to compel
moved to compel arbitration for nine of the plaintiffs who
joined this action. In its previous order, the Court held
that a court-and not an arbitrator-had the authority to rule
on the enforceability of the arbitration agreements.
Id. at *7. The Court also ruled, however, that even
if it determined that the arbitration agreements were
unenforceable, it lacked the authority to compel arbitration
because all of the arbitration agreements at issue provided
for arbitration outside of this district. The Court therefore
requested supplemental briefing on three issues:
1. Whether the arbitration agreements are enforceable;
2. If the agreements are enforceable, what courses of
action-including dismissal-are available to the Court, and
which should the Court select?
3a. If the Court determines to dismiss the claims, does it
have the authority to rule on the validity of the class
action waiver contained in the arbitration agreements?
3b. If the Court determines to stay the claims, does it have
the authority to rule on the validity of the class action
waiver contained in the arbitration agreements?
Id. at *8. The Court now concludes that 1) it has
the authority to rule on the enforceability of the nine
plaintiffs' arbitration agreements, including the class
action waivers; 2) the class action waivers are invalid as a
matter of law; and 3) the class action waivers must be
stricken from the arbitration ...