Monday, July 24, 2006

FLSA - overtime pay - executive employees

Davis v. Mountaire Farms - 3d Circuit - July 20, 2006

Summary judgment for the employer reversed. The lower court had held that plaintiff-employees were exempt employees under sec. 213(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 USC sec. 213(a)(1), and thus not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA., 29 USC sec. 201 et seq.

Plaintiffs were "crew leaders" who supervised other employees known as "chicken catchers." They had some supervisory responsibilities but these did not include hiring and firing or making ultimate decisions or actions about things like vacations, holidays, or discipline. Plaintiffs often worked more than 40 hours a week, but the employer refused to pay the overtime, claiming they were exempt executive employees. The crew leaders were hourly employees until 2002, at which time they became salaried, but there was no change in their duties or responsbilities.

The court held that FLSA exemptions are construed against the employer, which has the burden of proof to establish that its employees come within the scope of an overtime exemption.
The employer has to satify all four factors under 29 CFR sec. 541.100(a), the most important one in this case concerned the "authority to hire or fire other employees."

Noting that "the case law on this is is very fact specific and not consistent," and that there were "genuine issues of material fact," the court said that it did "not believe that Mountaire had established its case as a matter of law" and remanded the matter.

disability - remand - limited remand order

Scandone v. Barhhart - ED Pa. - July 18, 2006

Plaintiff appealed an order finding her disabled as of April 1, 2004. The defendant lost hearing tape and asked for a remand. The Court granted Plaintiff's request to prohibit a de novo adjudication finding Plaintiff not disabled or disabled any later than April 1, 2004.

The Court said that it would be "unfair to Plaintiff to permit the Commissioner to misplace the hearing tape and then 'reconstruct the record' by holding a new hearing before the ALJ, potentially reversing Plaintiff's prior favorable decision...The case will be remanded...for further administrative proceedings, but the determination that Plaintiff has been disabled since April 1, 2004, will not be subject to de novo adjudication."

admin. law - exhaustion of remedies - class action in equity

Kowenhover v. Board of Assessment of Allegheny County - Supreme Court - July 18, 2006

majority -


The Court held that plaintiffs could bring a class-action complaint in equity, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, challenging constitutionality of practices and hearing procedures in tax assessment appeals, which were alleged to involve consideration of post-hearing evidence obtained after and outside of the record before the hearing officer.

The lower courts had held that such challenges had to be brought in individual cases pursuant to the appeal route provided by statute. The Supreme Court said that its decision allowed equity to assume jurisdiction in cases where "requiring adherence to the statutory avenue would be of little benefit" -- e.g., where the legal remedy would inadequate, incomplete and inefficient and would involve a "multiplicity of duplicative lawsuits" in matters beyond agency expertise -- and where "an action in equity would provide a tidy global resolution...."

tax sale - redemption - residential v. commercial purpose

Lamm v. Fisher - Superior Court - July 19, 2006

The court rejected the petition for redemption, under the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Law, 53 P.S. 7293, of a person whose property was sold at a sheriff's sale, because the property was used for a commercial rather than residential purpose. The act "is unambiguous and limits redeption to a non-vacant property occupied as a residence."