On April 16, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk. You may
recall my previous coverage of this case as the "FLSA Pick-Off
In short, an employee filed a FLSA wage and hour claim
intended to be a collective action. The defendant made a Rule 68 offer of
judgment that would have given the plaintiff everything she could possibly have
obtained through the lawsuit, effectively mooting her claim (more on that
later) before any more employees joined the collective action. The district
court dismissed the case because it was moot as to the only plaintiff.
The Third Circuit reversed, but the Supreme Court sided
with the district court. The effect is that employers can
"pick-off" the lead plaintiff in a collective action and avoid
the collective action entirely.
Not so fast though! The majority assumed without deciding that the Rule
68 offer did in fact moot the lead plaintiff's claim. The liberal bloc
dissented with Justice Kagan calling the majority's assumption
"bogus" and resulting in the majority opinion having "no
real-world meaning or application" (ouch). Justice Kagan argues that the
offer in this case was never accepted and therefore the plaintiff's case was never
mooted (i.e. the plaintiff was never effectively picked off).
So, if you ever have a pick-off case, be prepared to argue over whether a Rule
68 offer of judgment for full relief does in fact moot the individual's claim.
Read additional employment law articles on Phillip Miles'
blog, Lawffice Space
more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us
through our corporate site.