Class Action Defense

​Employment/Labor Class Actions

Following are some of our employment/labor class action successes:

  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended a health and welfare plan, plan sponsor, and plan administrator against ERISA breach of fiduciary duty class action claims. The class was approximately 450 individuals challenging the plan’s right to collect an additional contribution under the collective bargaining agreement and plan documents. Quarles successfully defended its clients against motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. A trial on the merits was completed in March 2009. Quarles prevailed on the most critical issue at trial and successfully defended that portion of the verdict on appeal before the Seventh Circuit.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against allegations that it misclassified approximately 70,000 employees nationwide as exempt from overtime requirements. The plaintiffs alleged a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Rule 23 classes under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) and the laws of numerous states. We obtained a very favorable settlement, involving a fraction of the putative class.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles successfully defended client against allegations that mechanics should have been paid for time spent passing through security, walking in the building, donning uniforms, and obtaining a cart. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the FLSA, IMWL, and Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA), totaling millions of dollars. Eighty individuals opted-in to the collective action, and the putative class involved approximately 150 individuals. Quarles obtained a very favorable settlement on the eve of summary judgment and class certification motions.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles successfully obtained the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims alleging a class under Title VII. The plaintiff alleged discrimination claims covering thousands of African-American management employees nationwide. Quarles was successful in getting the class claims dismissed despite several attempts by the plaintiff to amend and replead the class claims. The plaintiff’s individual claims are in discovery and still pending.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against claims that thousands of housekeeping workers were misclassified as independent contractors, in violation of the FLSA, IMWL, IWPCA, and RICO. The housekeepers worked for a housekeeping vendor that made the classification decision and was a defendant in the case. Because the housekeeping vendor serviced facilities in Texas and Illinois, the plaintiffs claimed that the client was liable for the alleged misclassification as a joint employer. Quarles vigorously defended the lawsuit and achieved a favorable resolution for the client.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against a 30,000-plaintiff class action claim that Arthur Andersen violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act when it closed down most of its operations. The Quarles team successfully obtained summary judgment and defended the result before the Seventh Circuit.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended a landscaping company in this combined collective and class action against allegations of failure to pay overtime, in violation of the FLSA and the IMWL, and allegations of violation of the IWPCA for purportedly requiring employees to pay for uniform purchase and cleaning. The case was favorably settled after the deposition of the named plaintiffs and before certification of the collective and class action.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles served as lead counsel in matter involving race claims of disparate impact in promotions and compensation, based on subjective decision making. After discovery, the plaintiffs conceded they had no promotion claim and pursued only class on comp claims. Quarles defeated the class motion. Thereafter, only one named plaintiff pursued an individual action, and Quarles secured summary judgment.
  • Illinois state court. Quarles served as the lead counsel for client in case involving 300–400 minority police officers who alleged discrimination based on promotional exam to rank of sergeant. Quarles secured summary judgment.
  • Illinois state court. Quarles defended client in this class action brought on behalf of 3,000 Illinois package car drivers claiming they were owed overtime for having to work through their lunch hour. Quarles vigorously defended the lawsuit and obtained a favorable result for the client.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles defended a class and collective action brought by a significant class of mortgage loan officers in multiple states (including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota) who claimed minimum wage and overtime violations in connection with allegations that they were improperly classified as exempt from state and federal wage and hour requirements related to overtime and/or minimum wage obligations. Quarles obtained a very favorable settlement that limited the Rule 23 settlement class to Wisconsin employees and that was reached early in the litigation, with the result that it effectively controlled both plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense costs.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles defended claims brought by security officers who alleged they were improperly denied pay for compensable meal periods, in violation of the FLSA and state wage and hour claims. Following discovery and litigation related to the issue of certification, Quarles was successful in obtaining a very favorable settlement.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles is currently defending its client against collective and class action claims in two related matters brought by seasonal migrant agricultural workers under the FLSA, the Migrant Worker Protection Act, various state wage and hour laws, and laws regulating the employment of migrant workers, including the H-2B Visa Program.