I have posted several times about the offensive use of the FRCP Rule 68 Offer of Judgment in FLSA collective overtime (or other) actions, have myself utilized it to dispose of a FLSA collective action and have watched with great interest the journey to the US Supreme Court of the Genesis Healthcare case. Well, the favorable outcome I portended has happened!
In Genesis HealthCare Corporation v Symczyk, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that when Genesis Healthcare Corporation offered full relief to the named plaintiff and the plaintiff refused it, then, under FRCP 12(b)(1), the refusal mooted the named plaintiff’s putative wage-and-hour and the collective action.
The Court left open, however, the issue of whether an unaccepted offer of judgment under Rule 68 moots an FLSA claim, leaving that perhaps more important issue in some legal doubt (although I am confident that this question will ultimately be decided in favor of defendants). Significantly, the Court did not have to decide that issue, as the plaintiff had waived that issue and it therefore did not require resolution.
The 5-4 decision held that the plaintiff’s FLSA collective action challenging the Company's automatic meal break deduction policy was properly dismissed on jurisdictional grounds because the only named plaintiff in the suit no longer had an interest in the case after the employer offered full relief on her individual claims.
The Court reversed the Third Circuit decision, a pro-employee decision, that held that even though the named plaintiff was kicked out, the rights and claims of other potential opt-ins survived that unfortunate occurrence and the remainder of the class could yet proceed, assuming they could show they were similarly situated.
My heart soars. I “knew” this was going to be the outcome or was, at the least, very encouraged when the Court took the case for review. I also believe that Court at least intimated or “predicted” or “suggested” an outcome on this ostensibly more global issue and I am gratified to now "really" have a strong offensive weapon for a defendant and I look forward to using it (soon).