In the case of Lanktree, et al. v. I-70 Towing, et al., Riggan Law Firm, LLC, a Missouri employment law firm, working in connection with Weinhaus & Potashnick, recently negotiated a settlement on behalf of a group of tow truck drivers who were suing their former employer, I-70 Towing, for unpaid wages.
The lawsuit was originally filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in June 2010. The case was a collective action lawsuit brought by a group of tow truck drivers in Columbia, Missouri who alleged that they were not paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked in each workweek in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The drivers alleged that they were paid a flat-rate commission for each tow job they performed, and that their commissions were insufficient to cover the federal minimum wage in some workweeks. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that they were not compensated for time that they spent towing vehicles during evening and weekend hours, and also for time that they spent “on call” waiting to be dispatched to tow jobs. The drivers also alleged that I-70 Towing violated the FLSA by failing to keep adequate records of the hours worked by the drivers.
Following the close of discovery, each side filed Motions for Summary Judgment. I-70 Towing argued that the Plaintiffs had failed to establish that the law had been violated, and requested that the case be dismissed. The Plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment, on the issue of liability, claiming that even Defendants’ own testimony showed that the drivers’ pay fell short of minimum wage for some workweeks, and that a trial would be necessary to establish the number of hours worked and the extent of the Plaintiffs’ monetary damages. On October 6, 2011, the Court denied the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, and granted the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on liability. In its Order, the Court found that there were some weeks that the Plaintiffs were not paid minimum wage, and therefore, that the FLSA had been violated. The Court found that there was an issue of fact as to the extent of the damages, and the case was set for a jury trial on damages to begin November 7, 2011.
On October 12, 2011, which was six days after the Court’s summary judgment Order, and less than a month before trial, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit in a Court-supervised mediation. The terms of the settlement are confidential.