Judge Dismisses Class Action Suit Against Trainor Glass
June 21, 2012

by Erica Terrini, eterrini@glass.com

A class action suit against Trainor Glass Co. filed by former employee Katherine McNeel "on her own behalf and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated," with allegations related to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, was dismissed last week by Carl Doyle, currently serving as judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District Of Illinois Eastern Division.

According to court documents, the suit sought "recovery by plaintiff and other similarly situated employees of the defendant of damages in the amount of 60 days' pay and ERISA benefits by reason of defendant's violation of the plaintiff's rights under the WARN Act."

Trainor had submitted a motion to dismiss the case, alleging that the case was a pre-petition claim.

"The adversary proceeding should be dismissed because the plaintiff's WARN Act claim is a pre-petition claim that is properly addressed in the claims administration process, not by way of an adversary proceeding," wrote the company in its joint motion to dismiss McNeel's class action. "[The] plaintiff's WARN Act claim is a pre-petition claim as a matter of law."

Additionally, Trainor argued "the plaintiff's WARN Act claim should be adjudicated through the claim administration process, not by way of an adversary proceeding."

Trainor also claimed in its motion to dismiss that "The plaintiff, therefore, had a 'claim' against the debtors on the 60th day prior to his termination of employment, even if that 'claim' was 'contingent' when it arose and even if that 'claim' was very likely 'disputed.' To the extent that plaintiff did not receive the requisite advance notice of the mass layoff, he would be entitled to 'back pay' and benefits under the WARN Act. Defendant's alleged failure to give the Plaintiff notice on November 1, 2008 clearly occurred pre-petition."

Trainor Glass closed its facilities in late February and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 9. The class action suit had been filed as part of Trainor's bankruptcy case.

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