U.S. Supreme Court Tackles Rule 68 Offers of Judgment Made to a Lead Plaintiff in an FLSA Collective Action
Last week, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Genesis HealthCare Corporation v. Symczyk, that if the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim of a lead plaintiff in an FLSA collective action becomes moot before anyone else opts in, the mere presence of collective action allegations in the complaint is not sufficient to make the FLSA claim justiciable, and the FLSA claim should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Laura Symczyk was employed as a registered nurse by Genesis Healthcare Corp. in Philadelphia for eight months during 2007. Two years after she left, Symczyk filed a collective action against Genesis in federal district court, claiming Genesis had violated the FLSA by automatically deducting 30 minutes of time per shift for meal breaks, during which she claimed compensable work had been performed. Symczyk asserted her claims on behalf of herself and all employees similarly situated, seeking back pay, liquidated damages and attorney's fees. When it answered the complaint, Genesis served Symczyk with an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, offering her $7,500 for alleged unpaid wages, plus attorney's fees, costs, and expenses as determined by the court. Under Rule 68, a plaintiff who rejects an offer of judgment and then secures less at trial is liable for post-offer costs (such as mileage fees to subpoenaed witnesses, court filing fees, and costs for transcripts and photocopying). Symczyk did not accept Genesis' offer of judgment, and it expired.Continue Reading...