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Good Lawyering Makes a Difference in Wage & Hour Cases

Posted by Frank Steinberg | Sep 25, 2009 | 0 Comments

Mark Tabakman has an interesting post at Wage & Hour Developments & Highlights.  It demonstrates how creative lawyering, combined with common sense on the part of the client, can dispose of a problem quickly and cost-effectively.

In a nutshell, the defendant employer (which seems clearly to have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act) was sued in an opt-in class action.  They headed off the problem of years of expensive class action litigation by making an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68.  In essence, they surrendered by offering to give the plaintiffs all of the relief to which they were legally entitled.

Not content with a quick, easy, and complete victory, the plaintiffs rejected the offer. That proved to be a fatal mistake. The court held that the defendant's offer to pay all that could possibly be owed mooted the litigation.  This resulted in there being no justiciable case or controversy — essential to maintaining a case in federal court — and therefore dismissed the complaint.

So in this case creative defense counsel used the too-seldom-invoked Rule 68 mechanism to turn a bad situation into a win.  The case is Simmons v. United Mortgage and Loan Investment, LLC, in case you want to take a look.

About the Author

Frank Steinberg

Frank is the founder and principal of Steinberg Law, LLC. A Jersey boy born and bred, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, business litigation,  and aviation law. Following law school and a clerkship in the federal district court Frank spent his early career with large litigation ...

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