Lucas v. Jimmy John's Enterprises, LLC, No. 17-1655 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs brought a collective lawsuit against Jimmy John’s on behalf of all assistant store managers nationwide for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Jimmy John’s owns just 2% of their stores; the rest are operated by franchisees. Jimmy John’s claimed that it did not maintain employment records for franchisee-employees and did not have contact information for the vast majority of putative collective members. The parties ultimately agreed that Jimmy John’s would send a letter to the non‐party franchisees asking for contact information for their assistant managers. Eventually, about 600 franchisee and 60 corporate employees joined the suit. The court bifurcated discovery, with the first phase to focus on the joint-employer issue. Two years into the litigation, plaintiffs filed separate lawsuits against their franchisee employers in district courts nationwide, asserting the same claims, arguing that the FLSA statute of limitations was running continuously on those claims. The district court subsequently enjoined plaintiffs from pursuing their lawsuits against the franchisee employers until their claims against Jimmy John’s were resolved. The Seventh Circuit reversed, rejecting arguments that the injunction was authorized under the court’s inherent equitable powers or the All Writs Act because it was necessary to prevent duplicative litigation, avoid inconsistent rulings, and protect the court’s pretrial orders regarding discovery and notice procedures.