Callis strikes seven affirmative defenses in Kraft Granite City plant workers class action

Amelia Flood May 23, 2011, 10:48am


Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis struck seven affirmative defenses filed by Kraft Foods Global Inc. in a proposed class action over wages paid to its workers at a Granite City plant.

Callis entered her order striking the defenses in the case brought by lead plaintiff Joan Jones May 13.

Jones is suing Kraft on behalf of a proposed class of up to 500 workers at Kraft's Granite City plant on claims that the company violated the Illinois Minimum Wage Act by failing to pay wages she and other class members were allegedly owed.

Kraft denies the allegations.

Jones moved in April to strike the affirmative defenses.

Callis found for the plaintiff on seven of the 15 affirmative defenses Kraft filed.

Callis struck the following defenses from Kraft's answer:

- Failure to state a claim
- Inadequacy of representation
- Lack of commonality required for a class action
- Lack of typicality required for a class action
- Inferior type of adjudication
- Unmanageable for purposes of class action.

While Callis' order states that Kraft's affirmative defense 16 was struck, Kraft's affirmative defenses end at defense 15, de minimis or the defense that the matter is so trifling that the court should not consider it. The company's defenses include a paragraph at the end of the filing indicating that Kraft reserves the right to assert other defenses.

It is unclear from the May 13 order whether Callis struck defense 15 or the additional defenses reservation.

Callis allowed Kraft to preserve certain issues for arguments relevant to the stated claim issue and class certification issue.

Callis denied the rest of the plaintiff's move to strike.

Joseph Phebus represents Jones and the potential class.

Jonathan Garlough represents Kraft.

The case is Madison case number 11-L-082.

More News