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Burton v. DRAS partners, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 27, 2019

CHRISTOPHER BURTON and PHAELANN MACKEY, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
v.
DRAS PARTNERS, LLC, DRAS PARTNERS 2, LLC d/b/a “Papa John's, ” Defendants. Month Under-Payment Cumulative UnderPayment Interest Rate Interest Accrued Month UnderPayment Cumulative UnderPayment Interest Rate Interest Accrued

          WERMAN SALAS P.C. Douglas M. Werman, Maureen A. Salas, Sarah J. Arendt, Jacqueline Villanueva

          WEINHAUS & POTASHNICK Mark A. Potashnick (MO Bar # 41315) (pro hac vice forthcoming)

          PLAINTIFFS' STATEMENT OF AN AWARD OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DRAS PARTNERS, LLC FOR DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $17, 703.40 AND ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $23, 890.55

          Sharon Johnson Coleman Judge

         I. OVERVIEW

         Plaintiffs are former delivery drivers employed by DRAS Partners, LLC d/b/a “Papa John's Pizza” (“DRAS”). They allege that they were under-reimbursed for their vehicle costs incurred in performing their jobs, which resulted in federal and Illinois minimum wage violations (nominal wages - unreimbursed vehicle costs = subminimum net wages). On October 11, 2019, the Court entered a default as to Defendant DRAS Partners, LLC and scheduled a “prove up” hearing for 9:00 a.m. on November 1, 2019. ECF Doc. # 25. The evidence clearly shows that Plaintiffs were grossly under-reimbursed for the vehicle costs they incurred, which caused them to earn less than minimum wage. For these reasons, the Court should enter a default judgment against Defendant DRAS Partners, LLC, award Plaintiffs all of the wages they are owed, award Plaintiffs liquidated damages and penalty interest pursuant to federal and Illinois law, and award Plaintiffs' counsel all of their attorney's fees and costs incurred in litigating this matter.

         II. STATEMENT OF FACTS

         A. Plaintiffs' Employment

         Plaintiff Christopher Burton was employed by DRAS from about March 2018 to October 2018 as a delivery driver at its Papa John's store in Highland Park, Illinois. DRAS paid Mr. Burton the Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour when he delivered pizzas, including a tip credit. It paid him $8.50 per hour while he worked in the store between deliveries. He spent approximately 40% of his time working in DRAS's store.

         Plaintiff Phaelann Mackey was employed by DRAS from about March 2018 to September 2018 as a delivery driver and manager at the same Papa John's store in Highland Park, Illinois. He spent approximately half of that employment as a delivery driver. While he worked as a delivery driver, DRAS paid Mr. Mackey the Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour, including a tip credit.

         DRAS required Plaintiffs to drive their own vehicles, pay all costs of operating those vehicles, and provide their own vehicle insurance in order to perform their deliveries.

         Plaintiffs' average round-trip delivery distance was about 6 miles.

         DRAS never tracked Plaintiffs' actual vehicle costs incurred in performing their jobs. The company never asked them for their expenses or receipts.

         DRAS reimbursed Plaintiffs about $1.00 per delivery for their vehicle costs. That flat amount did not change based on driving distance or time.

         Thus, DRAS's effective per-mile reimbursement rate for Plaintiffs was about $.17 per mile. ($1.00 per delivery reimbursement / 6 average round-trip miles = about $.17 per-mile).

         Mr. Burton worked an average of about 25 hours per week. He averaged about 12 miles driven per work hour.

         Mr. Mackey worked an average of about 55 hours per week when he was a delivery driver. Like Mr. Burton, Mr. Mackey averaged about 12 miles driven per work hour during that time.

         B. Job Mileage

         Mr. Burton calculates his total job mileage as follows:[1]

Weeks of Employment 31
Average Hours Per Week x 25
Average Miles Driven Per Work Hour x 12
Total Miles Driven on Job 9, 300

         Mr. Mackey calculates his total job mileage as follows:

Weeks Employed as a Delivery ...

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