Judge denies motion to transfer potential Dollar General class action

By Steve Korris | Aug 14, 2009

CLARKSBURG – U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley has denied a motion from former Dollar General workers to transfer a proposed class action against the retailer to District Judge John Preston Bailey.

On Aug. 6, Keeley signed a pair of orders that drew a sharp line between the class action in her court and individual suits against Dollar General in Bailey's court.

One order denied the class action transfer. The other transferred three individual cases from Keeley to Bailey, who already presided over seven individual suits.

The suits allege that Dollar General improperly classified workers as managers in order to deprive them of rights under wage and hour laws.

Plaintiff lawyers had hoped to roll the class action and all ten individual suits together before Bailey, but Keeley disappointed them.

She wrote that the class action differed significantly from the individual cases.

The class action involves claims under state and federal law, she wrote, while the others involve claims only under federal law.

All plaintiffs in the class action worked since 2005, she wrote, while the individuals worked from 1999 to 2004.

Individual plaintiffs have stipulated that they regularly supervised two or more employees, received the required minimum as managers and hired clerks, she wrote, while class action plaintiffs have entered no such stipulations.

Her class action, Audia v. Dolgencorp, began in federal court in West Virginia.

The individual cases began in Alabama. A federal judge there certified a class action, decertified it, and transferred claims to federal courts where plaintiffs worked.

Plaintiffs Melva Bosley, Mary Howell, Connie Outen, Tawana Proctor, Fabra Stewart, Della Thorne-Judkins and Kimberly Weller landed in Bailey's court.

Plaintiffs James Morgan, Angela Mayne-Harrison and Christine Richards landed in Keeley's court, but now Bailey will preside over their claims.

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