Practice Areas

Relief for Employer Facing Trumped Up Claims

June 2013

By: Jennifer Adams Murphy, Esq.

In March 2013, Magistrate Judge Cole, from the Northern District of Illinois, entered an order dismissing a lawsuit alleging overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Illinois Minimum Wage Law. In Alexander v. Caraustor Industries, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37439, (N.D. Ill. March 19, 2013), the Plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit claiming overtime violations based upon alleged facts including a claim that they were not compensated for time spent putting on protective gear before and after the end of their shifts, and not compensated for walking from their locker room to their work stations. Plaintiffs claimed in affidavits that the Defendant employer violated overtime laws because the alleged additional time resulted in Plaintiffs working more than 40 hours per week for which they were not compensated. Other wage payment violations were also alleged.

During discovery in the case, affidavits of coworkers and Plaintiffs' deposition testimony established that Plaintiffs' claims were exaggerated. Whereas, for example, Plaintiffs alleged that it took 30 minutes to don and remove protective gear and to walk to their worksite, Plaintiffs admitted in their depositions that it only took about ten minutes to accomplish these tasks. Plaintiffs failed to offer an excuse or justification for the discrepancy.

In its order dismissing the case, the court stated, "[t]hese falsehoods constitute perjury and cannot be written off as innocent or de minimus overestimates or lies about matters on the periphery of the case." Instead, the court observed that Plaintiffs' perjury "trampled on the integrity of the court." The court found the gross inflation in the Plaintiffs' claims justified dismissal of the entire case.

This case is a strong reminder that it is worth the time and effort to scrutinize alleged facts for inaccuracy and aggressively defend on the basis of any false statements.

Questions? Contact Attorney Jennifer Adams Murphy of the St. Charles, IL office at (630) 377-1554 or jemurphy@wesselssherman.com.