United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Charles Ronald Norgle United States District Judge.
motion for partial summary judgment  is granted in part
and denied in part. Defendants' motion to for leave to
file excess pages for reply brief  is granted.
Plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment  is
Anthony Simpkins ("Plaintiff) sued Defendants DuPage
Housing Authority ("DHA") and DHA Management, Inc.
("DHA Management") (collectively,
"Defendants") for several employment law
violations. Plaintiff currently presses four claims against
Defendants, alleging violations of: (1) the Fair Labor
Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq., for failure to pay overtime wages; (2) the
Illinois Minimum Wage Law ("IMWL"), 820 ILCS 105/1
et seq., for failing to pay overtime wages at the
statutorily required rate; (3) the Illinois Employee
Classification Act ("IECA"), 820 ILCS 185/1 et
seq., for erroneously failing to classify Plaintiff as
an employee rather than an independent contractor; and (4)
the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act ("IPWA"), 820 ILCS
130 et seq., for failing to compensate Plaintiff at
no less than the prevailing hourly wage for the duration of
Plaintiff s work for Defendants. Before the Court now are
cross-motions for partial summary judgment that deal only
with the IECA and IPWA claims.
delving into the substance of the cross-motions, it is
helpful to consider the somewhat circuitous path that has led
to this point of the litigation. In August 2017, this Court
granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on the FLSA
claim and relinquished jurisdiction as to the pendent state
law claims. See Dkt. 65. The Court specifically held as a
matter of law that Plaintiff could not be considered an
employee (and rather was an independent contractor) for
purposes of the FLSA. Plaintiff appealed, and the Seventh
Circuit reversed and remanded. See Simpkins v. DuPage
Housing Authority, 893 F.3d 962, 967 (7th Cir. 2017).
The Seventh Circuit held that genuine disputes of fact exist
that are material to the determination of Simpkins's
employment status (for purposes of the FLSA). The Seventh
Circuit outlined various factual disputes in the record,
including in relation to Plaintiffs alleged schedule, his
investment in necessary tools, and the nature and length of
the contractual relationship between the parties. Thus, and
needless to say, this case will proceed on the FLSA claim
regardless of the outcome of this motion. The Seventh Circuit
also reinstated the state law claims without any discussion
as to the merits of those claims.
parties now move forward on cross-motions for partial summary
judgment related to those state law claims. Plaintiff argues
that, as a matter of law, the Court should hold that Simpkins
is an employee for purposes of the IECA. Plaintiff
specifically argues that the IECA has a more expansive
definition of "employee" than the FLSA, meaning
this Court can make that determination yet remain consistent
with the Seventh Circuit's findings related to the
various material factual disputes that directly appertain to
Plaintiffs status as an "employee" under the FLSA.
Defendants, on the other hand, argue that they are shielded
from liability under the IECA because of its status as a
political subdivision of the State of Illinois and that the
IPWA does not create a private right of action for
individuals in Plaintiffs shoes.
Court agrees with Defendants as to the IECA claim, meaning
Plaintiffs argument as to his status as an employee for
purposes of the IECA is denied. The Court disagrees with
respect to the IPWA claim, and if Plaintiff is in fact an
independent contractor, Plaintiff is entitled to attempt to
prove an IPWA violation as an alternative to his FLSA claim.
As such, Plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment is
denied, and Defendants' motion for partial summary
judgment is granted in part and denied in part for the
facts in this case have been well-laid out by two orders of
this Court and in one published Seventh Circuit opinion. See
Dkts. 63, 66, 83. As such, and because the resolution of the
issues relevant to the present motion are nearly-purely
legal, as opposed to factual, in nature, this opinion
provides only a high-level recitation of the general facts of
the case, drawn heavily from the Seventh Circuit opinion.
began working as a handyman for DHA in November 2009 under an
agreement titled "Independent Contractor Agreement"
and performed general labor as needed to complete the
rehabilitation of vacant properties. He performed carpentry,
maintenance, and handyman works such as demolition,
remodeling, removing fixtures, and discarding trash in that
2011, the rehab work slowed down and Simpkins began working
primarily at Ogden Manor, a townhome community for which DHA
served as the on-site management. He performed much of the
same work, but eventually focused specifically on maintenance
work. Ogden Manor's property manager and maintenance
supervisor, who were DHA employees, gave Simpkins his list of
job duties and prioritized the order in which he needed to
complete those tasks.
2012, Simpkins and DHA entered into another "Independent
Contractor Agreement." This agreement described the
scope of work as "general labor for maintenance" at
Ogden Manor. The agreement originally stated that the
expected completion date for that work was July 2012.
However, that date was later crossed out by hand and replaced
with "To Be Determined." Simpkins continued to work
at Ogden Manor until May 2015.
November 2009 through May 2015, Simpkins worked full-time and
exclusively for DHA. Pursuant to DHA's instructions,
Simpkins reported his hours by submitting invoices, and he
was paid bi-weekly via paper check. DHA issued Simpkins
1099-MISC tax forms to file his taxes, while others whom DHA
considered employees were issued W-2 forms. Simpkins was
aware that DHA considered him an independent contractor, and
he repeatedly requested, to no avail, that his supervisors
convert him to a regular employee. DHA did not provide him
with pension, insurance, or other similar fringe benefits.
2015, Simpkins was injured in a car accident, after which his
relationship with DHA ended. He filed this lawsuit in October
2015, claiming that DHA had repeatedly failed to pay him
overtime, and that DHA was required to provide him with
certain disability benefits. The parties filed cross-motions
for summary judgment. As noted, this Court entered judgment
in favor of Defendants on the FLSA claim, which the Seventh
Circuit reversed. The ...