Settlement negotiations underway in Welcome Inn case
Settlement negotiations are underway in the Welcome Inn case, according to the most recent court filings.
The parties held a telephone status conference on Jan. 11 before Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. Attorney John Ireland represented the plaintiffs, former employees of the Welcome Inn hotel in Quincy, IL., and Kevin Doherty and Thomas Luetkemayer stood for the defendants, the owners of Quincy Property LLC and proprietors of the hotel.
The status of the case and discovery were discussed as well as mediation. Ireland offered a settlement demand by the plaintiffs. The defendants had until Monday, Jan. 21 to file their response.
Plaintiffs April R. Brashier, Richard M. Orencia, and Chad Lebow filed a lawsuit against Quincy Property LLC, doing business as “Welcome Inn,” and against Brett Burge, Kenneth Logan, Quentin Kearney and Joe Wimberly under FLSA and Illinois Wage Laws. The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 28, 2017, alleges the plaintiffs worked at the defendants’ hotels and weren’t paid overtime due under FLSA.
The plaintiffs further allege they were misclassified as salaried employees exempt from FLSA, and that the defendants illegally deducted amounts from their pay in violation of FLSA.
Under FLSA, employees may bring a collective action against an employer to recover unpaid overtime or minimum wages. Unlike class action suits under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, whereby potential plaintiffs are included unless they opt out, potential plaintiffs in FLSA collective actions must affirmatively opt in to the suit, according to Cornell Law School.
Brashier claims in court documents she was unjustly terminated at Welcome Inn for complaining about a lack of overtime pay, and threatened with illegal wage deductions.
Lebow alleges the defendants also retaliated against him. He claims they reduced his wages and/or tried to intimidate him by “strictly scrutinizing his work because he requested overtime pay.”
Another telephone conference has been set for Jan, 24 at 10 a.m. This conference will determine whether the parties agree to settle or if the case will go to trial.
The case is entering its third year with back and forth court filings and no resolution.