Trial Court Denies Class Action Certification Motion In Illinois State Court Employment Law Class Action Case Holding that Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Failed to Provide a “Reasonable and Accurate Method of Calculating Damages on a Classwide Basis”
Only a month after the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a sex discrimination class action against Wal-Mart involving upwards of 2 million class members, see Dukes v. Wal-Mart, Inc., 474 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 2007), an Illinois state court has sided with Wal-Mart’s defense attorneys and refused to grant class action status in a labor law cases alleging failure to pay overtime and failing to provide employee breaks. The Chicago Tribune reports that Rock Island County Judge Mark VandeWiele issued a 34-page opinion last Friday, March 9, 2007, denying plaintiff’s motion for class certification. The article quotes the opinion as holding that the plaintiffs “filed to demonstrate the existence of a reasonable and accurate method of calculating damages on a classwide basis.” The ruling is significant for Wal-Mart, particularly in light of substantial adverse jury verdicts in similar cases. In October 2006, a Pennsylvania jury awarded almost $80 million in damages in a rest breaks/overtime class action against Wal-Mart, and in 2005, a California jury awarded more than $170 million in a meal breaks class action against the company.
The news article, entitled “Judge denies Illinois Wal-Mart workers’ class action,” may be found in the Business Section of the March 10, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune.