FedEx employees seek to preserve collective-action lawsuits over wages

A courier drops off a package at the Supreme Court
Petitions of the 7 days
A courier drops off a package at the Supreme Court

The Petitions of the Week column highlights a selection of cert petitions lately filed in the Supreme Court docket. A checklist of all petitions we’re observing is readily available below.

Five years back, the justices in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Remarkable Court docket of California confined certain private-harm lawsuits versus businesses to inhabitants of a single point out. Due to the fact that 2017 selection, companies have confident state courts to cabin a host of lawsuits introduced by out-of-point out plaintiffs around out-of-condition perform. This 7 days, we emphasize cert petitions that inquire the court docket to take into account, amid other items, no matter whether Bristol-Myers Squibb also bars a federal court docket in just one state from hearing collective-action promises in opposition to FedEx by workers in an additional condition.

Christina Fischer labored as a FedEx “security specialist” in Pennsylvania for 10 years. Personnel in Fischer’s job on a regular basis worked a lot more than 40 hours for every 7 days, but are categorized by the transport carrier as salaried workers exempt from time beyond regulation shell out beneath the Fair Labor Conventional Act of 1938. Arguing that she was ineligible for the Act’s extra time exemption, Fischer filed an FLSA collective action in federal district court in Pennsylvania seeking unpaid additional time from FedEx. Two protection specialists in other states “opted in” to the collective motion.

The district court agreed with FedEx that it only experienced authority, acknowledged as precise private jurisdiction, to hear Fischer’s declare. The U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit affirmed. FedEx is not headquartered in Pennsylvania, and the stability professionals in other states were not suing for unpaid extra time linked to any Pennsylvania business enterprise action. Under Bristol-Myers Squibb, the appeals court reasoned, the district court docket only had jurisdiction to listen to the part of the collective action brought by Fischer – or any other FedEx security specialists in Pennsylvania.

In Fischer v. Federal Express Corp., the employees urge the courtroom to reinstate their collective action versus the shipping and delivery carrier. Bristol-Myers Squib left open the question irrespective of whether its holding applies to federal courts. The 3rd Circuit’s summary that it does, the staff argue, not only contravenes longstanding federalism and owing-course of action doctrines that invest state courts with much narrower particular jurisdiction than federal courts. It also guts the essential enforcement mechanism – collective actions – that Congress granted to workforce beneath the FLSA.

A list of this week’s highlighted petitions is beneath:

Olhausen v. Arriva Medical, LLC
Difficulty: Regardless of whether a Phony Statements Act defendant alleged to have “knowingly” violated a provision of federal legislation can escape liability by articulating, following the fact, an objectively acceptable interpretation of the provision underneath which its conduct would have been lawful.

Keister v. Bell
Troubles: (1) Regardless of whether the U.S. Court docket of Appeals for the 11th Circuit erred in relying on the government’s (or its delegee’s) intent to control speech in identifying that public sidewalks adjacent to governing administration buildings are not regular community discussion boards, in conflict with choices by this court and numerous circuits and (2) irrespective of whether the position of a public sidewalk as a shielded classic public discussion board really should be determined by the text, heritage and custom of the First Modification somewhat than by an indeterminate multi-factor balancing check.

Fischer v. Federal Specific Corp.
Difficulty: Whether a federal court has the authority, absent standard own jurisdiction above the defendant or the defendant’s consent, to preserve a Good Labor Requirements Act collective action that involves decide-in plaintiffs who worked for the defendant outdoors the point out where by the court docket is found.

Ferrarini v. Irgit
Challenge: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s decide-made, laches-like, ownership assert-accrual check applies to bar a copyright infringement go well with brought in just the 3-year glance-back again time period prescribed by Congress in 17 U.S.C. § 507(b).

[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to SCOTUSblog in various capacities, was among counsel to respondent in Bristol Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California.]

Correction (Nov. 11 at 6:10 p.m.): An before edition of this short article misstated the character of the lawsuit in Fischer v. Federal Express Corp. It is a collective motion, not a class action.