Ross, et al. v. RBS Citizens, N.A. (d/b/a Charter One), et al.
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, case no.: 09-CV-5695
Filed: September 14, 2009

UPDATE: On January 27, 2012, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Illinois federal court’s October 8, 2010 decision granting class certification to assistant branch managers and tellers and bankers’ overtime claims under the Illinois wage and hour laws for employees working in Illinois. This order occurred in the Ross v. RBS Citizens case where the parties are bringing claims against Defendants’ Charter One branches. This order will permit us to proceed litigating the Illinois class members’ claims under Illinois laws. The Illinois class consists of all ABMs and hourly employees working at Defendants’ Illinois Charter One branches from October 23, 2006 to the present. Also, regarding the same claims being brought against Defendants’ Citizen Bank branches, we believe this order will have an impact on the pending motions for class certification under Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania state law claims.

UPDATE: (Aug. 17, 2011). We are still awaiting an order from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. However, we continue to litigate take depositions and work on preparing this matter for trial.

UPDATE: As previously mentioned, the Defendants asked the court of appeals to accept an appeal so it could review Judge Lefkow’s order granting class certification to the Charter One class members under Illinois wage and hour laws. The Defendants argued that (1) judge Lefkow used the wrong legal standard so an appeal should be granted, (2) her order granting certification created undue pressure for them to settle so an appeal should be granted, (3) judge Lefkow’s order was questionable regarding her reasoning so an appeal should be granted, (4) the case could not be tried on a class wide basis so an appeal should be granted, and finally (5) that the court forgot to include all the necessary language in her order as required under the rules. On November 30, 2010, the court of appeals issued an order. It rejected the first four arguments for an appeal. These arguments went to the merits of judge Lefkow’s decision. However, the court of appeals found that there may be an issue as to whether judge Lefkow included all the necessary language in her order, so an appeal was granted on only this one issue. If Defendants succeed on this appeal, the only result will be sending the order back to Judge Lefkow for her to review and revise to include the necessary language.

UPDATE: On October 22, 2010, the Defendants filed a pleading with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to consider reviewing Judge Lefkow’s order granting class certification for the Illinois employees under Illinois law. We are opposing their request for the Court of Appeals to review her order. Until the Court of Appeals decides whether it will review decision, the notice of class certification to the Illinois class members will be not go out. We will keep you posted on the Court’s decision.

UPDATE: On October 8, 2010, the Court issued an order granting the Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification under the Illinois wage laws. This order certified two classes of employees: (1) all current and former bankers and tellers who worked at Charter One’s Illinois bank branches from October 23, 2006 to the present; and (2) all current and former assistant branch managers who worked at Charter One’s Illinois bank branches from October 23, 2006 to the present. This legal claim is being made in addition to the same overtime claims being made under the federal wage laws. The court already certified the same class of employees (along with the same employees in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana) under the federal wage laws. The Illinois employees will be receiving a notice in the mail regarding this class certification that was granted on October 8. Unlike the federal wage claims, under the Illinois law, these persons are automatically part of the class action and do not have to “opt into” the case in order to make a claim.

UPDATE: On September 14, 2010, the court held a hearing regarding the Plaintiffs’ Motion for class certification of the Illinois employees under Illinois wage and hour laws. The court stated it will review all the legal briefing on this issue and hopefully have an order issued by sometime in October 2010.

UPDATE: The Court decided to bump the July 29, 2010 hearing up to September 14, 2010. From the orders issued on the case, it appears that she will be issuing her decision on the whether to certify the class of Illinois employees under the Illinois law at, or near, that time. After the September 14 hearing, we will post an update as to what occurred.

UPDATE: On June 30, 2010, the Court granted conditional class certification for all of Charter One’s tellers, bankers, and assistant branch managers who used to work at Charter One’s former branches located in the state of Indiana.

UPDATE: The court granted the Defendants an extension of time to respond to our motion to certify the class of Illinois employees under Illinois law. The hearing on that motion has been moved from June to July 20, 2010.

UPDATE: On January 14, 2010, the court issued an order certifying the collective class action overtime claims for employees holding the positions of banker, personal banker, teller, teller manager, head teller, senior teller and assistant branch manager. This class covers all of these employees working at “Charter One” banking centers in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan from January 14, 2007 to the present. In early March 2010, Court approved notices for this claims will be mailed to the last known addresses for all persons holding these positions during this time frame. Also, court approved notices will be posted in all Charter One branches in an area readily available for viewing by the current employees in these positions.

What is the lawsuit about?

Our office has filed a collective action claim against RBS Citizens, N.A. bank (doing business as Charter One) and its parent corporation Citizens Financial Group, Inc. in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of Illinois on September 14, 2009. This lawsuit was filed on behalf of all bank tellers, personal bankers, and assistant managers who worked for Charter One within the past three years for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The lawsuit alleges that Charter One failed to pay bank tellers and personal bankers for overtime worked. In particular, these employees would work more than forty hours in a work week, but instead of paying them overtime, Charter One would: (i) give them time off in future weeks instead of paying overtime, (ii) tell them to not record the hours worked over forty, and/or (iii) changing (or instructing them to change) their recorded hours by reducing or eliminating any overtime hours. The lawsuit alleges that Charter One would require tellers to perform work during uncompensated breaks. Regarding assistant managers, the lawsuit alleges that Citizens Bank misclassified these employees as salary exempt, and should have paid them overtime.

Our offices are seeking class status for these employees who worked at Charter One branches over the past three years in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. At this time, this lawsuit is not a certified collective class action. It will only become a certified collective class action after the Court issues an order granting this status. We will be seeking such an order from the Court as this matter proceeds.

Can I get a copy of the lawsuit?

For a copy of the lawsuit that has been filed: click here.

How can I join?

For more information, please contact either:

Daniel W. Craig
DONELON, P.C.
420 Nichols Road, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64112
Tel: 816-221-7100
Fax: 816-709-1044
dan@donelonpc.com

Brendan J. Donelon
DONELON, P.C.
420 Nichols Road, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64112
Tel: 816-221-7100
Fax: 816-709-1044
Brendan@donelonpc.com

How Can I follow What is Happening in the Lawsuit?

This lawsuit was filed in U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of Illinois. That court allows the public to view the documents filed in existing lawsuits. You can access this information by clicking on https://ecf.ilnd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Once you are on that web page, you will need to set up a PACER account in order to receive a "login" and "password." There is a link on this page for http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/. Once you have a login and password, you can go back and enter that information on the court’s website in order to log-in. After you log in, click "query" at the top of the next screen. This will bring up a "search clues" box. Within that box, you will need to enter 09-5695 in the case number area, then hit the "Run Query" button. On the next screen, click on the "docket report" link. That will bring up the docket report for the case. You will be able to see all the documents that have been filed in the case, including all the consent to join forms. Note: if you click on a document and want to review it, there is a charge to your PACER account for the copies.

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