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Defense Attorneys Successfully Stave Off Labor Law Class Action Against Wal-Mart Alleging Failure To Provide Employees Breaks And Pay Overtime In Illinois State Court Case

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.