Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fifth District kicks proposed OT wage class action; Maag brought suit in Jefferson County against Missouri business

By Kristin Emery | Apr 4, 2018


MT. VERNON — The Fifth District Appellate Court has dismissed a class action lawsuit filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court against a Missouri company over overtime pay, holding that the company does business primarily in Missouri, not in Illinois.

Represented by Wood River attorney Tom Maag, plaintiff Romeo Torio filed the original lawsuit in 2013 when he worked for Davidson Surface/Air Inc. making pickups and deliveries in Illinois. 

Torio, a Missouri resident, claimed Davidson did substantial business in Illinois even though its offices are in Missouri and that he worked more than 40 hours per week at various times from 2011-13, according to background information in the ruling.

His suit claimed the defendant owed him 185.05 hours of overtime and that under “applicable law” was required to pay him time and a half for each hour totaling $5,551.50 plus interest and attorney fees, according to the ruling. Torio’s lawsuit went on to allege that Davidson employs yet fails to pay numerous employees for legally required overtime and that the court should grant class status to the case.

The original suit was dismissed in 2015, with the trial court finding the plaintiff had failed to show the defendant was doing business in Illinois and that it lacked personal jurisdiction. Last year, the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal and argued that the company used Illinois roads and highways enough to subject it to Illinois jurisdiction and that this constituted an “exceptional circumstance.” The defendant argued its contacts are too sporadic to prove that it does business as an Illinois company.

In its ruling, the appellate court held that the only contact Davidson has with Illinois is the sporadic pickup and delivery of goods and that it does not maintain offices in the state. The court ruled that this falls below the standards of an exceptional circumstance and that Davidson’s principal place of business is Missouri.

Judge Thomas M. Welch delivered the judgment of the court. Presiding Judge John B. Barberis, Jr. and Judge James R. Moore concurred in the judgment.

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Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court