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 not too long ago filed within the Supreme Courtroom. A listing of all petitions we’re watching is offered here.

5 years in the past, the justices in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court 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 contemplate, 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. Staff in Fischer’s function usually labored greater than 40 hours per week, however are labeled by the delivery service as salaried workers exempt from additional time pay below the Fair Labor Standard 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 searching 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, often called particular private jurisdiction, to listen to Fischer’s declare. The U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the third Circuit affirmed. FedEx will not be headquartered in Pennsylvania, and the safety specialists in different states weren’t suing for unpaid additional time associated to any Pennsylvania enterprise exercise. Beneath 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 another FedEx safety specialists in Pennsylvania.

In Fischer v. Federal Express Corp., the staff urge the court docket to reinstate their collective motion in opposition to the delivery service. 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 staff 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
Situation: 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 very fact, an objectively affordable 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 control speech in figuring out that public sidewalks adjoining to authorities buildings aren’t conventional public boards, in battle with selections 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 needs to be decided by the textual content, historical past and custom of the First Modification relatively than by an indeterminate multi-factor balancing check.

Fischer v. Federal Express Corp.
Situation: Whether or not a federal court docket has the authority, absent common private jurisdiction over the defendant or the defendant’s consent, to take care of a Fair Labor Standards Act collective motion that features opt-in plaintiffs who labored for the defendant outdoors the state the place the court docket is positioned.

Ferrarini v. Irgit
Situation: Whether or not the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s judge-made, laches-like, possession claim-accrual check applies to bar a copyright infringement go well with 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 Categorical Corp. It’s a collective motion, not a category motion.