Settlement demand offered in Welcome Inn case
By:   //  Investigative Reports, Legal

The Welcome Inn labor relations case could be coming to an end — but only if the defendants accept a settlement demand offered by the attorney for the plaintiffs.

Attorney John Ireland, representing April Brashier, Chad Lebow, Richard Orencia and more than two dozen former and current employees, offered a Nov.30 settlement demand.

The demand would settle the case for approximately 34 plaintiffs, who allege Welcome Inn owners operated in violation of the Illinois Fair Labor Standards Act.

Last month the case involving the Quincy, IL hotel had been reassigned to Judge Colin Stirling Bruce and Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long. U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins is no longer on the case.

A telephone conference was held between Ireland and attorneys for the defendant Kevin Doherty, Ambrose McCall and Thomas Luetkemeyer. The parties indicated discovery has not been initiated due to interest in mediation, court records show.

Case history

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 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.”

Settlement possible in near future

According to court documents, the defendants intend to respond to the settlement demand. A status conference is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 10:30 a.m. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long will conduct the proceedings.

The case is Brashier et al v. Quincy Properties Llc, Doing Business as Welcome Inn et al.

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