Know Your Judge: Robert W. Gettleman

Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...

By Carmen Castro-Pagan

Want some good intel on the judge handling your employment, benefits, or labor case? Bloomberg Law is here to help with our “Know Your Judge” feature.

This week in Know Your Judge we spotlight Senior District Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Gettleman has been a judge for 23 years.

For labor and employment practitioners, Gettleman may be best known for his ruling dismissing Illinois state employees’ lawsuit in Janus v. AFSCME, a high-profile case over the fate of mandatory public sector union fees. The case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments earlier this week.

Other notable cases by Gettleman include his dismissal of state-law claims by a disability benefit participant who sued Aetna Inc. for allegedly disclosing her HIV/AIDS status without her consent. Earlier this year, Gettleman held that an interstate moving company couldn’t force a former Illinois-based employee to arbitrate retaliation and wrongful discharge claims against the company in Maryland.

Numbers & Statistics

Gettleman grants motions to dismiss in labor cases more frequently than he does in employment and benefits cases, according to a Bloomberg Law data analysis. He granted motions to dismiss in employment and benefits cases a third of the time. Gettleman is more likely to deny motions to dismiss in employee benefits cases.

Attorneys considering appealing Gettleman’s decisions should take note that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit typically affirms his employment decisions, but nearly one-third of his opinions on labor and benefits issues have been reversed or partially reversed.

Gettleman usually resolves labor and benefits cases within a year. He took an average of:

  • 198 days to resolve 314 lawsuits involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act;
  • 244 days to rule on 13 labor disputes;
  • 267 days to resolve 95 wage and hour lawsuits
  • 329 days to resolve 18 lawsuits over disability discrimination

Gettleman on average took a little more than a year—381 days—to resolve 188 lawsuits involving other employment issues, including sex and age discrimination.

Looking for more analytics on judges? Check back each Wednesday for our Know Your Judge feature, or try Bloomberg Law’s Litigation Analytics. And contact us if there’s a judge you want us to feature.

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