BY: Kevin J. Stoops | IN: Unpaid Wages & Overtime
On November 2, 2022, Sommers Schwartz, P.C., attorneys Kevin Stoops, Jason Thompson, and Jesse Young secured a total settlement of $9,950,000 for more than 2,500 hourly managers employed by big-box home improvement giant Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (Lowe’s). The managers claimed Lowe’s violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay them wages and overtime for pre- and post-shift job duties.
The plaintiffs worked at 1,700 Lowe’s retail stores across the United States. The class action was initially filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in April 2019 and later included 19 more class actions filed in other federal courts across the country. Ultimately, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the lawsuits in the Western District of North Carolina, while 184 managers pursued their claims separately in individual arbitration proceedings.
The class action plaintiffs alleged that Lowe’s denied compensation for unpaid “off-the-clock” work they were required to perform before and after their formal shifts, including opening and closing stores and conducting exterior perimeter sweeps. The employees argued these tasks were compensable work eligible for overtime pay at time-and-a-half. By failing to pay overtime, the managers claimed, Lowe’s violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state wage and hour laws.
Sommers Schwartz led a consortium of 16 law firms representing the 2,574 managers. The litigation required extensive discovery, including hundreds of sets of written interrogatories, more than 200 depositions, multiple mediations, and 11 arbitration hearings. The total recovery of $9,950,000 consists of approximately $7,450,000 from the multidistrict litigation settlement and approximately $2,500,000 in arbitration awards.
Besides the large monetary settlement, Lowe’s agreed to change its timekeeping system and compensation policies, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional compensation to hourly managers throughout the U.S. since September 2020.
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Kevin Stoops is an experienced trial attorney who appears frequently in Michigan state courts and federal courts across the United States, representing clients in complex business litigation. He has vast experience and a track record of successful outcomes high-dollar matters involving trade secret, business tort, intellectual property, executive employment, and class action claims.