United States District Court - Southern District of Ohio - Western Division at Cincinnati - Case No: 1:19-cv-221
(This Is Not An Advertisement From A Lawyer)
If you are or were employed at any Cunningham Restaurant Group LLC restaurant working as a salary-paid Assistant Manager, Executive Chef, Chef, or Sous Chef paid by Cunningham Restaurant Group LLC as overtime exempt at any time since August 7, 2016, please read this Notice.
Cunningham Restaurant Group (“CRG”) employs the following salaried managers (below General Manager) paid by CRG as overtime exempt at its restaurants: Assistant Managers, Executive Chefs, Chefs, and Sous Chefs. For ease of reference, throughout this notice all of these restaurant manager positions will be referred to as “RMs.”
Plaintiffs James Leslie and Jason Klumb are both former employees of CRG. Plaintiff Leslie worked as a salaried Assistant Manager paid by CRG as overtime exempt, including during training to be Assistant Manager. Plaintiff Klumb worked as a salaried Sous Chef paid by CRG as overtime exempt during training and at all times thereafter. In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs Leslie and Klumb claim that during the period the RMs were initially being trained to be RMs, they were misclassified as exempt and therefore should have received overtime compensation for all hours worked over 40 in a week (referred to by Plaintiffs as “Managers in Training,” but regardless of whether they ever had that official job title). In addition, Plaintiffs Leslie and Klumb claim that all Sous Chefs were incorrectly classified as exempt during the entire time RMs worked and therefore they should have received overtime compensation for all hours worked over 40 in a week during the entire time they worked as Sous Chefs, not limited to their training periods. As a RM, even though you were paid a salary and may have believed salary-paid employees were not entitled to overtime, you may join this case. If you join this lawsuit, and the court determines that the case should proceed as a collective action, and Plaintiffs prevail, you may be entitled to overtime wages and other damages.
CRG denies that it has done anything wrong and intends to defend itself against this lawsuit. In particular, it maintains that it does not employ any employees with the title “Manager In Training,” rather, it employs various types of managers and provides training to those managers at the beginning of the employment relationship, with the length and level of training depending on experience and the type of management position being held. In addition, it maintains that all RMs were correctly classified as exempt from overtime compensation and were paid lawfully, even during the training period at the beginning of the employment relationship.
The Court has allowed this Notice to be sent under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to all persons who are or were employed as Sous Chefs or who worked during training for a RM position at any time from August 7, 2016 to the present.
Although the Court has authorized this Notice, it has not yet decided whether CRG has complied with federal and state law or whether any RM is entitled to money or other relief.
Your legal right to participate in the lawsuit is subject to the choice that you must now make.
JOIN THE CASE
If you would like to participate in this case and share in a monetary recovery, if any, that might come from a judgment or a settlement in this lawsuit, you must fully complete, sign and timely submit a Consent to Join Form no later than January 3, 2020.
By doing nothing, you give up the possibility of a monetary recovery that may come from a trial or settlement of the FLSA claims if those bringing the lawsuit are successful. You would not be bound by any judgment. You will, however, have the right to bring your own claims. If you do not join, the statute of limitations on your claim will continue to run and you may lose some or all of your rights if you do not act.
This Notice was sent to tell you of the existence of the lawsuit and inform you of your rights because, according to CRG’s records, you worked as a Sous Chef or were in training for a RM position during the relevant time period covered by this lawsuit. The choice to join or not to join this lawsuit is yours.
The Lawsuit. James Leslie and Jason Klumb brought a lawsuit entitled Leslie v. Cunningham Restaurant Group LLC, Case No. 1:19-CV-221 (S.D. Ohio). In this lawsuit, Plaintiffs claim that they, and other RMs were misclassified as exempt from overtime during the initial period when they were being trained, and that they should have been paid overtime compensation under federal and state law for all weeks in which they worked more than 40 hours during the initial period they were being trained. Additionally, they claim that Sous Chefs were misclassified as exempt from overtime during the entire period they worked as Sous Chefs and as a result they should have been paid overtime compensation under federal and state law in all weeks in which they worked more than 40 hours. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that during the entire time the Sous Chefs were employed, and during the initial training period for all RMs, their primary duties did not involve substantial managerial discretion and did not differ substantially from those performed by hourly associates, including, among others, tasks such as manual labor and food, beverage, and customer service restaurant duties.
CRG denies the claims Plaintiffs are making and asserts that Plaintiffs and the other RMs, including the Sous Chefs were properly classified as exempt from overtime and were paid lawfully during the entire period of their employment.
Enclosed is a “Consent to Join” form. If you want to participate in this lawsuit, you must read, sign, fill it out and return it. There are several ways to return it:
HEAD LAW FIRM, LLC (lead counsel)
4422 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
Tel: (404) 924-4151
BRYANT LEGAL, LLC (local counsel)
1550 Old Henderson Road, Suite 126
Columbus, OH 43220
Tel: (614) 704-0546
By returning the Consent to Join form, you will join this lawsuit and these attorneys will represent you.
The Plaintiffs’ attorneys listed above will pay all the costs associated with this case and will only receive fees and reimbursement of costs if there is a settlement or judgment. If there is no recovery, they will get nothing and you will owe them nothing. Any contingent legal fees will be paid to the attorneys from any funds paid to satisfy a judgment or settlement of the case.
If you do not join, you will not be bound by any judgment issued or settlement approved by the Court in this case – whether it is favorable or unfavorable. You will not be entitled to share in the amounts recovered in this lawsuit, if any, but you will have the right to separately bring your own claims. If you do not join, the statute of limitations on your claim will continue to run and you may lose some or all of your rights if you do not act quickly.
No. Federal law prohibits an employer from firing or in any way retaliating against you because you have joined this Lawsuit.
Additional information can be obtained from the Plaintiffs’ attorneys at the above addresses and telephone numbers. You may also learn more about the claims in the Complaint and review relevant documents by contacting CPT Group, Inc., at 1-(888) 804-1493 or going to the website: www.CRGOvertimeLawsuit.com. No inquiries concerning this case should be directed to the Court, or to the Clerk of the Court.
The Notice has been authorized by the Court. This Notice is not an expression by the Court of any opinion concerning the alleged claims. This Notice simply informs you of the pendency of this litigation and your rights to join, or not join, the lawsuit.
Deadline for submitting a Consent Form
JANUARY 3, 2020