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U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
AUGUST 17, 2021
No. 20-5947 .
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. Argued: Decided and Filed: .
SUTTON, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court in which McKEAGUE, J., joined. DONALD, J. (pp. 16 - 32), delivered a separate dissenting opinion.
Sutton, Chief Judge.
Anthem provides health insurance. To ensure that it pays only for medically necessary procedures, it hires nurses to review insurance claims. The company pays those nurses a salary but does not pay them overtime. Laura Canaday, an Anthem nurse who lives in Tennessee, filed a proposed collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act in federal court in Tennessee, claiming that the company misclassified her and others as exempt from the Act's overtime pay provisions. A number of Anthem nurses in other States opted into the collective action. But the district court dismissed the out-of-state plaintiffs on personal jurisdiction grounds. We affirm.
Enacted in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act creates a federal minimum wage, child labor protections, and overtime compensation requirements. 29 U.S.C. § § 206, 207, 212. The overtime provisions require an employer to pay employees at least 150% of their hourly pay rate when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Id. § 207(a)(1). The Act provides two key enforcement mechanisms. It authorizes the Secretary of Labor to initiate an FLSA action on behalf of employees "in any court of competent jurisdiction." Id. § 216(c). And it authorizes employees to sue "in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction" on "behalf of ... themselves and other employees similarly situated." Id. § 216(b).
Under the second option, the one in play here, "similarly situated" employees may join a collective action by filing a "consent in writing," after which they become "party plaintiff[s]." Id. Once they file a written consent, opt-in plaintiffs enjoy party status as if they had initiated the action. The Act says that each similarly situated employee who opts in amounts to an "individual claimant," whose lawsuit counts as "commenced" on the day the employee files her written consent to join the collective action. See id. § 256.
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CCH Pens. Plan Guide (CCH) P 376,205
LAURA CANADAY, Individually and on Behalf of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. THE ANTHEM COMPANIES, INC., Defendant
Other History: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee at Jackson. No. 1:19-cv-01084 -- S. Thomas Anderson, District Judge.
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