I wrote a few weeks ago about a number of state court lawsuits against Family Dollar Stores on behalf of Store Managers. Family Dollar lost a lawsuit in Alabama back in 2006 where a jury ruled that they were wrong to classify their store managers as exempt and deny them overtime pay. The lawyers for the store managers proved that their primary duties were to unload trucks, stock shelves and ring the cash register. Family Dollar claimed that their primary duty was to manage the store, but the jury didn’t buy it since the vast majority of their time was spent to doing the same hourly work as the cashiers and stock clerks.
Rather than start paying overtime, Family Dollar continued classifying them as exempt managers!
New lawsuits sprang up around the country, mostly in Federal Court, and they were all consolidated into Family Dollar’s home state of North Carolina. A judge there has been dismissing all new cases, refusing to follow the rule of the Alabama jury that awarded $54,000,000 to those store managers.
Lawyers around the country have not given up, and new state court lawsuits have been filed in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Missouri, Connecticut, and now Massachusetts. There was also a case in New York federal court which asserted New York state law and avoided the North Carolina judge which had been favoring Family Dollar. That New York case settled for approximately $15,000,000!
The current status of these state court cases is:
Connecticut: Family Dollar’s motion to dismiss the case was recently denied.
Colorado: Class certification motion granted and notices are going out to the class of Colorado Store Managers.
Pennsylvania: Family Dollar’s motion to dismiss the case is pending.
The general feeling seems to be that state judges are allowing these cases and are not following the rulings of the North Carolina federal judge whose rulings are not seeming to be the exception to the rule.
Good luck to all of the Store Managers and their hard working attorneys!