Burrell v. Waffle House, Inc.
CASE NO: 4:16-cv-00146 (U.S. Dist. Court N.D. Fla)
- Jeremiah Talbott
- Sean Culliton
- John Davis
Complaint Filed on Behalf of Cooks Employed by Waffle House, Inc.
On June 21, 2018, we filed a complaint on behalf of Milton Burrell and other similarly situated “cooks”, employed by Waffle House, Inc. (“Waffle House”). This lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, alleges that cooks were improperly paid overtime under the FLSA and, as such, they are owed additional overtime wages, plus an equal amount of liquidated damages for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek. This lawsuit was filed as a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation and liquidated damages for all cooks who decide to become part of this lawsuit.
What is a Collective Action Lawsuit?
Most people have heard of a “class-action” lawsuit, but few have heard of a “collective action” lawsuit. Although the goals of both lawsuits are similar, they are actually different. Specifically, in a class-action lawsuit, the plaintiff will file a motion to certify a class and, if granted, notice is sent to the entire class wherein each potential class member is given the opportunity to “opt out” of the lawsuit. If they do not “opt out” of the lawsuit, then they are included in the lawsuit. However, a “collective action” lawsuit is a little different in that the Court sends a notice to all “similarly situated employees” and the employees are given an opportunity to “opt in” to the lawsuit. If the employee does not “opt in” to the lawsuit, then they are not part of lawsuit. All employees that “opt in” to the lawsuit become parties to the lawsuit and can proceed forward to litigate their cases as a group, rather than an individual capacity. Therefore, a collective action lawsuit is a mechanism by which a court sends notice to potential party plaintiffs and gives them the opportunity to join into a pending lawsuit. Again, if the potential class member does not “opt in” to the lawsuit, they are not entitled to recover damages in the lawsuit, but must file a separate suit in order to recover damages.
Do I qualify to recover unpaid overtime wages?
As noted above, this lawsuit was brought on behalf of cooks who worked for Waffle House. We believe that all cooks, who worked over 40 hours in any work week, may be entitled to overtime for each and every hour that they worked in excess of 40 hours in any workweek.
How many years can I “go back” to recover unpaid wages?
The Fair Labor Standards Act only allows an employee/Plaintiff to seek unpaid wages for two years prior to the date that the lawsuit was filed, or for any person seeking to “opt in” to a collective action lawsuit, two years from the date that they file their “opt in”. However, for “willful” violations, the employee can seek to recover three years of unpaid wages. This is what is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. The Plaintiffs have alleged that the violations in this case were willful violations.
Do you have to pay you any money to be part of this lawsuit?
The short answer is no. We are accepting this case on a contingency basis and we are fronting all cost associated with this case. If we do not recover any monies from the defendant, then you owe us no fees or costs.
What if I want to talk to an attorney to get more specifics about the case or my rights?
If you have questions about whether you can recover in the lawsuit, or wish to talk to someone before joining the lawsuit, please feel free to contact us a free consultation at (850)437-9600 or via email at jj@Talbottlawfirm.com.