Alamo Claim Service
This case is brought by Thomas Belton, a former Claim Representative, who was employed by Alamo Claim Service and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the Defendants. On January 17, 2013, Maurice Green and Monyal McLarty joined the case as named Plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants misclassified Belton, Green, McLarty, and other Claim Representatives as independent contractors and that the Plaintiffs and other Claim Representatives regularly worked in excess of 40 hours a week for which they were not paid overtime wages, in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Illinois law. This case seeks to compel Defendants to pay Belton, Green, McLarty, and a class of similarly situated employees all of the wages they earned in the past three years. Click here to read the Amended Complaint.
This case was filed in the Central District of Illinois and was assigned to the Honorable James E. Shadid and U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron G. Cudmore.
Court Grants Preliminary Approval of Settlement
The Court has granted preliminary approval of the class settlement. Click here to read the Order Granting Parties’ Motion for Preliminary Approval of Proposed Settlement and Class Certification. Notice has been mailed to all class members.
Posted August 27, 2013
The Parties have been negotiating a final Settlement Agreement but one issue remains outstanding. The Parties are working on resolving that issue and the Court has extended the time to finalize the Settlement Agreement until September 9, 2013, and the time to file for preliminary approval until September 16, 2013. The parties continue to try to resolve the outstanding issue.
The Parties Have Entered an Agreement-in-Principle to Resolve the Class Claims in this Case
The parties reached a settlement in principle (meaning a settlement that still needs to be finalized and approved by the Court) regarding the claims in this matter on Tuesday, June 18, in a mediation before Magistrate Judge Cudmore in Springfield, IL. The settlement resolved the claims for the entire class, including people who have opted-in and those who have not. As a result, the Court gave the parties until July 22, 2013 to finalize the agreement and put the case on hold until the settlement process is complete. Once the settlement agreement is finalized, the parties will present it to the Court for preliminary approval.
At this point, we do not know what the individual recoveries will be nor do we know when the Court will rule on preliminary approval. If the Court preliminarily approves the agreement, notice will go out shortly thereafter to all class members informing them of the settlement and giving them the opportunity to opt-out of the settlement if they want to. We also expect the notice to include the amount of each individual’s recovery.
Given the Court’s hold on the case until the settlement is finalized, we are not accepting consents to sue for filing with the Court.
Plaintiffs File Motion for Conditional Certification
On February 4, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Conditional Certification requesting that the Court give them permission to send notice to all persons who were hired by Alamo Claim Service to work in State Farm offices in Illinois as claim representatives, were classified as independent contractors and paid a day rate for their work from August 21, 2009 through the present. Click here to read Plaintiffs’ brief.
Additional Plaintiffs Join the Case
On January 15, 2013, the Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint, which was approved by the Court on January 17, 2013. The Second Amended Complaint expands the Class to include all Claim Representatives hired by Alamo Claim Service to work in State Farm offices throughout the state of Illinois.
Updated February 15, 2013
Answers to Common Questions:
Which employees can be part of this lawsuit?
All persons who have worked for Alamo Claim Service in State Farm’s Illinois offices as Claim
Representatives since August 21, 2009 who were classified as independent contractors and paid a day rate for their work.
What work locations are covered by this lawsuit?
The claims in this lawsuit cover State Farm’s Illinois worksites.
What claims are covered in this case?
The lawsuit at present covers claims for overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and under Illinois wage and hour law. The specific violations claimed are that Defendants misclassified Claim Representatives as independent contractors and failed to pay them overtime wages, and for all hours worked.
What damages are sought?
Damages sought under the FLSA include back overtime pay, an equal amount of liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and any costs of litigating the case. Damages for the Illinois wage and hour law claim include back overtime pay, interest, and fees and costs.
What is the difference between the FLSA and Illinois Minimum Wage and Hour Law claims?
Both claims are based on the same facts – Defendants’ misclassification of Claim Representatives and their failure to pay them overtime wages as required under the law – and many of the available damages are the same under both laws. The primary difference in the claims is that the Illinois overtime law claim may provide for a longer period of recovery of back overtime pay.
The FLSA allows claims for overtime wages going back two years (or three years if the employer acted willfully) from when someone affirmatively joins the case by filing a Consent to Sue.
Illinois wage and hour law allows claims for overtime wages going back three years from the filing of the lawsuit.
Do I have to pay to join the case?
No. The attorneys are handling this case on a contingent basis and will only be paid when we win through a settlement or final judgment. Under both the FLSA and Illinois wage and hour law, when plaintiffs win an overtime case, defendants must pay the plaintiffs’ costs and attorneys’ fees.
Can Alamo Claim Service or State Farm fire me or take action against me for joining the case?
The law prohibits retaliation for joining an overtime lawsuit. If any employee suffered retaliation, Defendants would be liable for at least double the injury caused to the employee, and possibly additional damages. Notify us immediately if you think any retaliation has occurred. Retaliation is rare in overtime cases, because an employer can suffer such serious penalties.