They say, everything is bigger in Texas – who knew that would apply to lawsuits as well? As I wrote about earlier, on September 20, 2016, the State of Nevada, along with 20 other states sued the U.S. Department of Labor in the Southern District of Texas challenging the revised FLSA overtime regulations (the “State Plaintiffs”). The same day, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 55 businesses and industry groups followed suit (the “Business Plaintiffs”) under a slightly different theory. If successful, a single judge in Texas could decide to put a hold on the upcoming December 1, 2016 overtime revisions – including the increase in the white-collar salary threshold to $47,476 – affecting over 4 Million workers. For wage and hour attorneys like myself, this is like watching the Super Bowl, with each motion being a commercial.
On October 12, 2016, the State Plaintiffs filed an Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Request for Oral Argument and Expedited Consideration, which the DOL must respond to by October 31. The parties each get to file a reply to the other’s argument, and the hearing will be November 16. Similarly, on October 14, 2016, the Business Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which the DOL also must respond to by October 31. Coincidence? I think not – great timing/coordination on the plaintiffs’ part. On October 17, the Business Plaintiffs moved to consolidate the two cases. On October 18, 2016, the DOL filed an Emergency Motion to Stay the Business Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply (basically asking the Court for more time to respond). The same day, the Court consolidated the two cases (meaning, they will proceed as one), under the State Plaintiffs’ case (since it was filed first).
On October 21, the Business Plaintiffs responded to the DOL’s Emotion Motion to Stay Summary Judgment Briefing, noting that a decision needs to be made prior to December 1 ,2016, and that the arguments before the DOL are not foreign to it, and that they “routinely confront these arguments in litigation challenging regulations.” On Monday, October 24, 2016, the DOL filed its reply, arguing that the case should not be rushed as it “raises complex legal questions that could, on resolution, affect the rights of over four million American workers and their employers.” However, the DOL also hinted that it will argue that the injunction, if granted, should not be on a nationwide basis, but only those states that have filed suit (which would not include Minnesota).
On November 16, 2016, the hearing on the State Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction will be heard before Judge Mazzant. The status whether the Business Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment will proceed is up in the air. Until then, I’ll keep watching the commercials and keep you posted!