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New York Federal Court Refuses Plaintiffs' Request to Open Overtime Action to Other Employees

By Paul J. Siegel and Marc S. Wenger
  • October 18, 2002

In a lawsuit alleging violations of the federal and state wage and hour law, a New York federal district court has denied a request by two former service technicians of a major international company to allow them to invite other potential plaintiffs to join the federal action. In a rare refusal to grant permission to send notices of the pending action and opt-in consent forms, the court found no basis in the ongoing litigation to support the claim that the two plaintiffs were "similarly situated" to other service technicians for overtime pay purposes. The legal standard under the Fair Labor Standards Act for granting permission to send notices to other potential plaintiffs is very low, and there are very few reported decisions denying requests to give such notice. Madrid v. Minolta Business Solutions, Inc., No. 02CV2294, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18539 (SD NY, October 1, 2002).

Lawsuits alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act have become fertile ground for "collective action" complaints, where an employer could be liable for unpaid overtime wages and penalties for an entire class of employees working in similarly situated positions. Demonstrating that other employees are similarly situated has been an easy task, and the number of collective action FLSA cases is significantly higher than other types of class action lawsuits.

In a major victory for the employer, this decision bars the plaintiffs from issuing notice of the federal claims absent further evidence and complicates plaintiffs' efforts to obtain class certification on other pending state law claims. Plaintiffs have requested a deferral on the issue of class certification on the state law claims until further discovery in the litigation provides additional information as to whether other employees were similarly affected.

Jackson Lewis represented the employer in the case.

©2002 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

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