FedEx workers search to protect collective-action lawsuits over wages

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

The Petitions of the Week column highlights a collection of cert petitions just lately filed within the Supreme Courtroom. A listing of all petitions we’re watching is obtainable right here.

5 years in the past, the justices in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Courtroom of California restricted sure personal-injury lawsuits in opposition to companies to residents of a single state. Since that 2017 choice, companies have satisfied state courts to cabin a number of lawsuits introduced by out-of-state plaintiffs over out-of-state conduct. This week, we spotlight cert petitions that ask the court docket to think about, amongst different issues, whether or not Bristol-Myers Squibb additionally bars a federal court docket in a single state from listening to collective-action claims in opposition to FedEx by workers in one other state.

Christina Fischer labored as a FedEx “safety specialist” in Pennsylvania for 10 years. Workers in Fischer’s position commonly labored greater than 40 hours per week, however are labeled by the transport provider as salaried workers exempt from additional time pay below the Truthful Labor Normal Act of 1938. Arguing that she was ineligible for the Act’s additional time exemption, Fischer filed an FLSA collective motion in federal district court docket in Pennsylvania looking for unpaid additional time from FedEx. Two safety specialists in different states “opted in” to the collective motion.

The district court docket agreed with FedEx that it solely had authority, referred to as particular private jurisdiction, to listen to Fischer’s declare. The U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the third Circuit affirmed. FedEx isn’t headquartered in Pennsylvania, and the safety specialists in different states weren’t suing for unpaid additional time associated to any Pennsylvania enterprise exercise. Below Bristol-Myers Squibb, the appeals court docket reasoned, the district court docket solely had jurisdiction to listen to the portion of the collective motion introduced by Fischer – or every other FedEx safety specialists in Pennsylvania.

In Fischer v. Federal Specific Corp., the workers urge the court docket to reinstate their collective motion in opposition to the transport provider. Bristol-Myers Squib left open the query whether or not its holding applies to federal courts. The third Circuit’s conclusion that it does, the workers argue, not solely contravenes longstanding federalism and due-process doctrines that make investments state courts with a lot narrower private jurisdiction than federal courts. It additionally guts the important thing enforcement mechanism – collective actions – that Congress granted to workers below the FLSA.

A listing of this week’s featured petitions is under:

Olhausen v. Arriva Medical, LLC
Problem: Whether or not a False Claims Act defendant alleged to have “knowingly” violated a provision of federal regulation can escape legal responsibility by articulating, after the actual fact, an objectively cheap interpretation of the supply below which its conduct would have been lawful.

Keister v. Bell
Points: (1) Whether or not the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit erred in counting on the federal government’s (or its delegee’s) intent to manage speech in figuring out that public sidewalks adjoining to authorities buildings usually are not conventional public boards, in battle with choices by this court docket and quite a few circuits; and (2) whether or not the standing of a public sidewalk as a protected conventional public discussion board ought to be decided by the textual content, historical past and custom of the First Modification quite than by an indeterminate multi-factor balancing take a look at.

Fischer v. Federal Specific Corp.
Problem: Whether or not a federal court docket has the authority, absent basic private jurisdiction over the defendant or the defendant’s consent, to take care of a Truthful Labor Requirements Act collective motion that features opt-in plaintiffs who labored for the defendant outdoors the state the place the court docket is situated.

Ferrarini v. Irgit
Problem: Whether or not the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s judge-made, laches-like, possession claim-accrual take a look at applies to bar a copyright infringement swimsuit introduced throughout the three-year look-back interval 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 earlier model of this text misstated the character of the lawsuit in Fischer v. Federal Specific Corp. It’s a collective motion, not a category motion.