Wednesday, June 13, 2007

D.N.J. Rejects Supplemental Jurisdiciton over Class Action Claims Seeking to Piggyback on FSLA Claim

Per Hyman v. WM Financial Services, Inc., Slip Copy, 2007 WL 1657392 (D.N.J. June 07, 2007):

When first enacted, the FLSA [Federal Fair Labor Standards Act] produced a tremendous amount of litigation. In response, Congress passed the Portal-to-Portal Act in 1947. Under this Act, Congress prevented plaintiffs from bringing class actions under the FLSA. Now, plaintiffs are only allowed to bring “collective actions” under the Act. In a collective action, a plaintiff only becomes a member of the action if he affirmatively “opts-in” to the action. See 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). This is in stark contrast to the traditional Rule 23 class action, which operates as an “opt-out” scheme.

. . .

In the present case, Plaintiffs are attempting to bring a FLSA collective action and a Rule 23 class action. WM [the defendant] objects to this tactic. . . . According to WM, Plaintiffs are attempting an end-run around the FLSA's opt-in requirement. . . . This result, WM contends, contravenes Congress's express intent in amending the FLSA.

A recent line of cases from our District agree. [citing cases]. Therefore, these decisions hold that FLSA collective actions and state law overtime actions under Rule 23 may not be maintained together.

In De Asencio v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 342 F.3d 301, 306 (3d Cir.2003) though, the Third Circuit analyzed the joinder of a state law Rule 23 overtime class action claim with a FLSA collective action claim under the rubric of supplemental jurisdiction. . . .

Keeping in line with De Asencio, this Court shall analyze whether supplemental jurisdiction exists over some or all of Plaintiffs' state law claims. Here, the Court finds that it lacks supplemental jurisdiction over counts three through seven of Plaintiffs' complaint. . . . In this case, the only link between count one and counts three through seven is the general employer-employee relationship between Plaintiffs and WM. This is insufficient to confer supplemental jurisdiction. . . . Here, Plaintiffs are attempting to string together five unrelated state law claims to an FLSA overtime action. These five state law claims involve factual determinations that overlap little with their FLSA claim. Furthermore, . . . exercising supplemental jurisdiction over these claims would likely contravene Congress's intent in passing the FLSA. Therefore, the Court shall deny supplemental jurisdiction over counts three through seven for failing to arise out of the same “common nucleus of operative facts.”


Post a Comment

<< Home