|9 Months Ended|
Oct. 29, 2011
|LITIGATION MATTERS [Abstract]|
9. LITIGATION MATTERS
In 2006, a former store manager filed a collective action against the Company in Alabama federal court. She claims that she and other store managers should have been classified as non-exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and received overtime compensation. The Court preliminarily allowed nationwide (except California) certification. At present, approximately 265 individuals are included in the collective action. The Company’s motion to decertify the collective action has been dismissed without prejudice to refile at a later date. The Company has filed a motion relating to discovery issues which awaits the Court’s decision. Once decided the Court indicated it will hold a status conference to determine how the case moves forward procedurally. There is no scheduled trial date.
In 2007, three store managers filed two class actions against the Company which were consolidated in California federal court, claiming they and other California store managers should have been classified as non-exempt employees under California and federal law. Following a partial decertification order last September, the trial court in July of this year entered an Order decertifying the entire remaining class and scheduled a conference in September to determine how the individual cases of the three named plaintiffs shall proceed. The Plaintiffs asked the Court for a tolling of the statute of limitations so the decertified Plaintiffs could file their individual claims. The Court granted this request and the decertified Plaintiffs have until December 8, 2011 to file individual suits against the Company. There is no trial date set for the three remaining named Plaintiffs.
In 2008, the Company was sued under the Equal Pay Act in Alabama federal court by two female store managers alleging that they and other female store managers were paid less than male store managers. On March 31, 2011 the Court granted in part the Company’s motion to decertify the class finding that plaintiffs could not maintain a nationwide collective action against the Company. Instead, only those plaintiffs, four in number, who were employed by Dollar Tree in the district where the court is located, were permitted to proceed with the case. The claims of those four plaintiffs have been settled with Court approval for an immaterial amount.
In October 2009, 34 plaintiffs, most of whom were opt-in plaintiffs in the Alabama action, filed a class action Complaint in a federal court in Virginia, alleging gender pay and promotion discrimination under Title VII. On March 11, 2010, the case was dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appeal has been fully briefed by the parties and oral arguments are scheduled in January.
In April of this year, a former assistant store manager, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, instituted a class action in a California state court primarily alleging a failure by the Company to provide meal breaks, to compensate for all hours worked, and to pay overtime compensation. The Company removed the case to federal court which denied Plaintiffs’ motion for remand of the case to state court. The case presently awaits a scheduling order. This is no trial date.
In June of this year, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. and various of its affiliates instituted suit in federal court in Florida alleging that the Company, in approximately 48 shopping centers in the state of Florida and five other states where Dollar Tree and Winn-Dixie are both tenants, is selling goods and products in Dollar Tree stores in violation of an exclusive right of Winn-Dixie to sell and distribute such items. It seeks both monetary damages and injunctive relief. Discovery is on-going and the case is scheduled for trial in February of next year. Similar suits have been filed by Winn-Dixie in the same court against three other retailer defendants.
In July and September 2011 law suits were filed against the Company in four federal courts by four different assistant store managers, each alleging forced off the clock work in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and applicable state law. The suits are in Georgia, Colorado, Florida, and Texas. The Texas suit has been settled, pending court approval, for an immaterial amount to be paid in the fourth quarter. The Georgia suit seeks state wide class certification for those assistant managers similarly situated during the relevant time periods and the Florida and Colorado cases seek nationwide certifications for those assistant store managers similarly situated during the relevant time periods. The same law firm represents the plaintiff in each of the cases. The Company has commenced its investigation of the allegations and has filed motions to dismiss and motions to transfer venue to the Eastern District of Virginia in all remaining cases. No hearing dates on these motions have been scheduled to date. The Plaintiffs have filed a motion to consolidate all these and other related cases with the Federal Court Multi-District Litigation Panel. This motion seeks to have all assistant store manager off-the-clock cases consolidated and transferred to the Southern District of Florida Miami Division under the purview of a single plaintiff assistant store manager off-the-clock case that has been stayed in that division. A hearing on this motion is scheduled before the Panel in December.
The Company will vigorously defend itself in these matters. The Company does not believe that any of these matters will, individually or in the aggregate, have a material effect on its business or financial condition. The Company cannot give assurance, however, that one or more of these lawsuits will not have a material effect on its results of operations for the period in which they are resolved. Based on the information available to the Company, including the amount of time remaining before trial, the results of discovery and the judgment of internal and external counsel, the Company is unable to express an opinion as to the outcome of those matters which are not settled and cannot estimate a potential range of loss on the outstanding matters.
Tabular disclosure of the loss contingencies that were reported in the period or disclosed as of the balance sheet date.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef