Anthony E. Simpkins, Plaintiff-Appellant,
DuPage Housing Authority, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
March 27, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 C 9103 -
Charles R. Norgle, Judge.
Wood, Chief Judge, and Bauer and Kanne, Circuit Judges.
Simpkins sued the DuPage Housing Authority and DHA
Management, Inc. (collectively, DHA), alleging various
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the
Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL), the Illinois Employee
Classification Act (IECA), the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act
(IPWA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On
cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court held
that Simpkins was not an employee of DHA, but rather an
independent contractor. Therefore, it granted summary
judgment in favor of DHA as to the federal claims and
relinquished jurisdiction over the state law claims. Because
there are genuine disputes of fact that are material to the
determination of Simpkins' employment status, we reverse
began working for DHA in November 2009. He and DHA entered
into an agreement titled "Independent Contractor
Agreement, " with an expected completion date of June
2011. The contract stated that his duties were to include
"general labor as needed" to complete the
rehabilitation of vacant properties that were part of
DHA's Neighborhood Stabilization Program to make them
suitable for new occupants. In that role, he performed
carpentry, maintenance, and handyman work such as demolition,
remodeling, removing fixtures, and discarding trash.
2011, the rehab work slowed down and Simpkins began working
primarily at Ogden Manor, a townhome community for which DHA
served as the on-site management. He performed much of the
same work, but eventually focused specifically on maintenance
work. Ogden Manor's property manager and maintenance
supervisor, who were DHA employees, gave Simpkins his list of
job duties and prioritized the order in which he needed to
complete those tasks.
2012, Simpkins and DHA entered into another "Independent
Contractor Agreement." This agreement described the
scope of work as "general labor for maintenance" at
Ogden Manor. The agreement originally stated that the
expected completion date for that work was July 2012.
However, that date was later crossed out by hand and replaced
with "To Be Determined." Simpkins continued to work
at Ogden Manor until May 2015.
November 2009 through May 2015, Simpkins worked full-time and
exclusively for DHA. Pursuant to DHA's instructions,
Simpkins reported his hours by submitting invoices, and he
was paid bi-weekly via paper check. DHA issued Simpkins
1099-MISC tax forms to file his taxes, while others whom DHA
considered employees were issued W-2 forms. Simpkins was
aware that DHA considered him an independent contractor, and
he repeatedly requested, to no avail, that his supervisors
convert him to a regular employee. DHA did not provide him
with pension, insurance, or other similar fringe benefits.
2015, Simpkins was injured in a car accident, after which his
relationship with DHA ended. He filed this lawsuit in October
2015, claiming that DHA had repeatedly failed to pay him
overtime, and that DHA was required to provide him with
certain disability benefits. The parties filed cross-motions
for summary judgment. The district court granted DHA's
motion and ruled that Simpkins was not an employee of DHA
under the FLSA. Accordingly, it granted DHA's motion as
to the federal claims and relinquished jurisdiction of the state
judgment is appropriate only where there is no genuine issue
of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When ruling on a
motion for summary judgment, "[t]he court should neither
look the other way to ignore genuine issues of material fact,
nor strain to find material fact issues where there are
none." Sec'y of Labor, U.S. Dep't of ...