United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
H. LEFKOW, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
second amended complaint (dkt. 33), Cory Morgan alleges that
Guardian Angel Home Care, Inc. failed to provide her overtime
compensation in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act
(FLSA), 29 U.S.C.§ 201 et seq. (count 1), and
the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL), 820 Ill. Stat. Ann.
Comp. § 105/1 et seq. (count 2); breached a
January 2011 employment contract (count 3); breached a
November 2012 employment contract (count 4); and, with regard
to both alleged breaches, violated the Illinois Wage Payment
and Collection Act (IWPCA), 820 Ill. Stat. Ann. Comp. §
115/3 et seq. (count 5). Before the court is
Guardian Angel's motion for summary judgment on all
counts. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
Angel employs nurses to conduct home visits with patients.
Cory Morgan is a registered nurse who worked for Guardian
Angel. She had numerous duties, including, among others,
rendering treatment to patients, reconciling medication with
patients, documenting patient information in medical records,
and coordinating with office staff, physicians, and
patients' family members. Morgan began working for
Guardian Angel in October 2010. At that time, she was paid a
flat rate per patient visit, and the rate would vary
depending on the type of patient visit (i.e., start of care
visit, discharge visit, etc.). On January 5, 2011, Morgan
signed an offer letter (January 2011 offer letter) to begin
working as a full-time registered nurse on January 31, 2011.
She would receive a salary of $71, 000 and would earn
additional compensation in the form of a flat rate for each
patient visit performed in excess of 31 visits per week
(excess visit). Again, the flat rate varied depending on the
categorization of the visit (e.g., a regular visit would pay
$50, while a discharge visit would pay $55).
recorded each patient visit in a system called Homecare
Homebase. She accessed this online system using a tablet
provided by Guardian Angel; there were sometimes
technological problems that required pausing the program as
well as Wi-Fi connectivity issues. Homecare Homebase records
do not show any excess visits between January 31, 2011, and
September 28, 2012. Morgan, however, also documented patient
visits for 2011 and 2012 in personal planners, and she
recorded excess visits the week of March 21-27, 2011, and
September 12-18, 2011. She was not paid for any excess visits
on the paychecks corresponding to those dates.
2012, Guardian Angel informed Morgan that she had been
overpaid in the amount of $9, 775. According to Guardian
Angel, it had been paying additional compensation for visits
in excess of 30 per bi-weekly pay period as opposed to per
week as stated in the January 2011 offer letter. Guardian
Angel prepared a spreadsheet explaining the miscalculation.
The spreadsheet also showed that Morgan completed 13 excess
visits between March and May 2012 (in contrast to the
Homecare Homebase records). Guardian Angel and Morgan signed
an agreement to deduct 15% from each paycheck until the
overpayment was recouped.
returned to a flat rate pay basis on September 28, 2012. On
November 8 of that year, she was presented with another offer
letter (November 2012 offer letter) for a full-time position
with a salary of $71, 000 plus $40 for each patient visit
over 100 in two bi-weekly pay periods. During her time
working under the November 2012 offer letter, Morgan never
conducted more than 100 visits in two bi-weekly pay periods.
On May 21, 2013, Morgan began working on a part-time per diem
basis. She resigned from Guardian Angel on August 2, 2013.
judgment obviates the need for a trial where there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A genuine issue of material fact exists if “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). To determine whether a genuine fact
issue exists, the court must pierce the pleadings and assess
the proof as presented in depositions, answers to
interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits that are part of
the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In doing so, the court must
view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378, 127 S.Ct.
1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The court may not weigh
conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations.
Omnicare, 629 F.3d at 704.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
proving there is no genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In response, the
non-moving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone but must
designate specific material facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324; Insolia v.
Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 2000).
If a claim or defense is factually unsupported, it should be
disposed of on summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S.
Violation of the FLSA (count 1)
alleges that Guardian Angel violated the FLSA by failing to
provide her overtime pay. Guardian Angel counters that Morgan
was exempt from the FLSA. “Under the FLSA, employees
are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over forty
hours per week, unless they fall within a certain exemption
set forth by the FLSA.” Blanchar v. Standard Ins.
Co., 736 F.3d 753, 756 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing 29 U.S.C.
§§ 207, 213.). “One such exemption includes
employees who are employed in a ‘bona fide executive,
administrative, or professional capacity.'”
Id. (citing 29 U.S.C. § 213(a)(1)).
“Congress delegated to the Secretary of Labor the
authority to define the scope of this section and the
exemptions.” Piscione v. Ernst & Young,
L.L.P., 171 F.3d 527, 533 (7th Cir. 1999),
overruled on other grounds by Hill v. Tangherlini,
724 F.3d 965 (7th Cir. 2013). “The burden is on the
employer to establish that an employee is covered by a FLSA
exemption.” Blanchar, 736 F.3d at 756.
“Because the FLSA is a remedial act, exemptions from
its coverage are narrowly construed against employers.”
Johnson v. Hix Wrecker Serv., Inc., 651 F.3d 658,
660 (7th Cir. 2011).
purposes here, the professional employee exemption applies to
(1) Compensated on a salary or fee basis at a rate of not
less than $455 per week . . . exclusive of board, lodging, ...