United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HONORABLE EDMOND E. CHANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
center employees brought this collective action against five
AT&T entities, alleging that the employees were deprived
of overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). R. 1, Collective Action
Compl. The Defendants responded with a motion to
dismiss, arguing (among other things) that this Court lacked
personal jurisdiction over the various AT&T companies. R.
24, Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss. The employees contend that
they cannot respond to the Defendants’ motion without
at least some limited discovery on personal jurisdiction. So
the Plaintiffs have filed a motion to stay briefing and to
take limited jurisdictional discovery. R. 28, Pls.’
right now, the Court accepts as true the complaint’s
allegations relevant to personal jurisdiction and draws all
reasonable inferences in the employees’ favor.
Central States, Se. & Sw. Area Pension Fund v.
Phencorp Reinsurance Co., Inc., 440 F.3d 870, 878 (7th
Plaintiffs have worked at telephone-call centers in several
Midwest states, including Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio, since
at least October 2015. Collective Action Compl. ¶ 136.
During the proposed collective-action period, these call
centers were operated by four AT&T entities: AT&T
Corp., AT&T, Inc., AT&T Teleholdings, Inc., and
AT&T Services, Inc. Not surprisingly for call-center
employees, the Plaintiffs’ main job duty was talking on
the phone with customers about their AT&T services.
Id. ¶ 141. The employees were usually scheduled
to work at least 40 hours per week, and they had to take a
daily 30-minute unpaid lunch break. Id. ¶ 142.
employees’ typical work day looks like this: they
arrive before their scheduled shift and review any
promotional or operational materials related to current
customer offers, bonus structures, and system requirements.
Collective Action Compl. ¶ 143. Then, the Plaintiffs log
onto various computer programs that they need to use
throughout the day, including two known as IEX and CTI.
Id. ¶ 144. IEX generates the Plaintiffs’
work shifts, and CTI logs the time that call-center employees
are on customer calls. Id. ¶¶ 124, 151.
These tasks can take several minutes to do. Id.
¶ 144. And Plaintiffs must complete them all
before they clock in at the start of their scheduled
shift, at which point they are expected to be ready and
available to take customer calls. Id. ¶ 145.
is time for their lunch break, call-center workers are
required to log out of every computer program and system, and
then log back in when they return. Collective Action Compl.
¶ 148. At the end of their shift, the Plaintiffs must
make sure to log out within one minute of their scheduled
shift, unless they are in the middle of a customer call, as
is often the case. Id. ¶¶ 149, 155. When
logged out, whether it be during their lunch break or after
the end of their shift, the employees often times continue to
perform work related duties, including discussing work
matters with managers and supervisors, reviewing call notes,
and performing follow up work from prior call sessions.
Id. ¶¶ 157-58.
all that extra work, however, call-center
representatives’ payroll reflects only their scheduled
shift hours, not the actual hours worked. Collective Action
Compl. ¶¶ 163-69. This happens for two reasons.
First, to be compensated for any time worked in addition to
their scheduled shift hours, the Plaintiffs must send a
request for overtime to a management group called the
“Force Team.” Id. ¶¶ 159-162.
Without this request, workers are not compensated for their
overtime. Id. But supervisors often instruct
employees to not submit overtime requests that are eight
minutes or less. Id. ¶ 170. Second, when it
comes time to process payroll, the IEX system does not
automatically adjust a call-center representative’s IEX
schedule to reflect the actual time logged into CTI.
Id. ¶ 153. The way payroll processing works is
that the IEX schedules are converted into payroll data using
software called (using yet another acronym) TVI. Id.
¶ 28-29. And TVI uses a “rounding” function
in the conversion process that rounds down the hours worked.
Id. ¶ 30. In the end, the Plaintiffs miss out
on getting paid for most of the overtime hours they work
pre-shift, during their lunch break, and post-shift.
Id. ¶ 175.
whole, the Plaintiffs work less than eight minutes in
overtime on a given day. Collective Action Compl. ¶ 166.
But those eight minutes can add up. One of the plaintiffs,
Doretta Wagner, for example, estimates that she worked about
two or more hours of overtime per week. Id. ¶
174. So the Plaintiffs brought this collective action,
alleging that these pay practices violate the FLSA. The
Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint, arguing (among
other things) that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over
all five defendants. Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss. The employees
then filed motion to stay, arguing that they are unable to
respond to the jurisdictional arguments without some
discovery. Pls.’ Mot. Stay.
complaint need not allege personal jurisdiction, but once a
defendant moves to dismiss on that ground, the plaintiff
bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper.
Purdue Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A.,
338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir. 2003). Sometimes discovery
limited to the personal-jurisdiction dispute is warranted:
“it is within the discretion of the district court to
allow a plaintiff to conduct limited discovery in order to
establish that jurisdiction exists.” Sanderson v.
Spectrum Labs, Inc., 248 F.3d 1159, 2000 WL 1909678, at
*3 (7th Cir. 2000). At the same time, however, the
“plaintiff must establish a colorable or prima
facie showing of personal jurisdiction before discovery
should be permitted.” Central States, 230 F.3d
at 946. In other words, a plaintiff seeking jurisdictional
discovery must advance “proof to a reasonable
probability” of the facts necessary to establish
federal jurisdiction. Anthony v. Sec. Pac. Fin. Servs.,
Inc., 75 F.3d 311, 316 (7th Cir. 1996); see also
Indag GmbH & Co. v. IMA S.P.A, 150 F.Supp. 3d 946,
971 (N.D. Ill. 2015).
courts grant jurisdictional discovery if the plaintiff can
show that the factual record is at least ambiguous or unclear
on the jurisdiction issue. See e.g., Wells v. Hospital
Group of Illinois, Inc., No. 02 C 6111, 2003 WL
21704416, at *3 (N.D.Ill. July 23, 2003); Ticketreserve,
Inc. v. viagogo, Inc., 656 F.Supp.2d 775, 782– 83
(N.D. Ill. 2009). The standard is not particularly onerous,
but a plaintiff’s request will be denied if it is based
only upon unsupported assertions of personal jurisdiction.
See Central States, 230 F.3d at 946 (citing
Andersen v. Sportmart, Inc., 179 F.R.D. 236, 242
are two types of personal jurisdiction: general and specific.
uBID, Inc. v. GoDaddy Grp., Inc., 623 F.3d 421, 425
(7th Cir. 2010). The Plaintiffs do not explicitly say on
which type of jurisdiction applies here, whereas the defense