Policy: Law

Fourth Circuit says it lacks jurisdiction to consider two appeals

|
Appeals Courts,Law,Legal Newsline

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has issued a decision in a class action lawsuit against GEICO, stating it lacked jurisdiction and dismissing the appeals.

Samuel Calderon, individually and on behalf of other similarly situated individuals, and GEICO both appealed the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland’s final judgment in the class action lawsuit.

Lewis F. Powell Jr. Courthouse & Annex in Richmond, Va.

Lewis F. Powell Jr. Courthouse & Annex in Richmond, Va.

Circuit judges William Byrd Traxzler Jr., Robert Bruce King and Andre M. Davis decided the case, with Traxler authoring the opinion.

Government Employees Insurance Company and GEICO General Insurance Company appealed a district court order granting partial summary judgment against them on the issue of liability in an action asserting denial of overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the June 6 opinion.

The plaintiffs’ cross-appealed an order granting partial summary judgment against them on several issues relating to the remedy to be awarded.

“Concluding that these appeals are interlocutory and we lack jurisdiction to consider them, we dismiss the appeals,” the decision states.

The plaintiffs in the matter are security investigators who currently work or previously worked in GEICO’s Claims Department primarily investigating claims that are suspected of being fraudulent.

GEICO classifies its investigators as exempt from FLSA’s overtime pay protections.

In 2010, the plaintiffs filed suit on behalf of a class seeking recovery of overtime pay they claimed GEICO wrongfully withheld in violation of the FLSA and New York state law.

The complaint alleged GEICO improperly classified the Investigator position as exempt from overtime under the FLSA and the law of New York and requested compensatory and liquidated damages

After the district court certified the class, the plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment, and GEICO moved for summary judgment, on the issue of liability. The district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion and denied GEICO’s, rejecting as a matter of law GEICO’s contention that the Investigators fell within the FLSA’s “administrative function” exemption.

The parties later filed cross-motions for summary judgment on several disputed remedy issues.

Considering these motions, the court ruled that because GEICO acted in good faith, GEICO did not act willfully and thus the statute of limitations for plaintiffs’ claims extended only for two years.

For similar reasons, the court also ruled that the plaintiffs were not entitled to liquidated damages or pre-judgment interest. The court also determined that because the plaintiffs were paid fixed salaries regardless of the varying number of hours they worked, the method of overtime described in Overnight Motor Transportation v. Missel applied to this case.

The district court then entered a “Stipulated Order Relating to Remedy” that it described as a “final judgment” that contained a complete formula for the computation of backpay based on the rulings the court had made and the parties’ stipulations.

The order noted that both parties reserved the right to appeal the rulings of the district court underlying the order and that the order would “have no effect unless a judgment of liability is entered and sustained after all judicial review has been exhausted.”

The backpay formula that the order adopted would produce an amount of backpay to which each plaintiff was entitled depending upon the total pay received and the total time worked for each two-week pay period within the applicable limitations period.

“The district court’s work was not completed and the judgment thus was not final,” the decision states. “With no final decision to review, we have no choice but to dismiss the appeals before us.”

U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit case number: 13-2149

View article comments Leave a comment

More from washingtonexaminer.com