Circuit Roundup

2nd Circuit

Connecticut, New York, Vermont

Court clarifies unpaid overtime under FLSA

The 2nd Circuit has recently attempted to clarify unpaid overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the court’s August ruling in Dejesus v. HF Management Systems Services only nails down what an unpaid overtime claim requires even further.

Ramona Dejesus claimed that she worked more than 40 hours per week “some weeks” and that HF Management Systems owed her for back pay. The company argued that Dejesus’s claim should be dismissed, since she did not supply the factual foundation necessary for the claim, with no log of which hours were unpaid.

The 2nd Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling siding with the defendant, stating that since Dejesus’s claim was “devoid of any numbers to consider beyond those plucked from the statute” and that the claim provided no “factual context or content.” Although the court did not expect Dejesus to “plead [her] hours with mathematical precision,” the court decided reasonable expectations were not met.

3rd Circuit

Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Customers may revoke prior consent to phone calls under TCPA

Tired of repeated phone calls? Ashley Gager knows what that feels like after supplying Dell Computers Inc. with her phone number on a computer financing application. Even after she stopped making payments, however, she still continued receiving calls from Dell.

Gager sent a letter revoking her consent to receiving the calls, but Dell continued calling. She filed a class action lawsuit against the computer company, but a district court granted Dell’s motion to dismiss, citing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) rule concerning prior consent.

However, on Aug. 22, the 3rd Circuit reversed the lower court’s ruling, holding that the TCPA allows the customer to revoke prior consent at any time. According to the court, there is no time limit to this right. The court also claimed the TCPA applies to both telemarketing calls and debt collection calls equally.

7th Circuit

Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin

Court finds no malice in basketball players’ claims against media companies

For anybody who watched him in his basketball playing prime, the thought that Scottie Pippen would take a big shot and miss is inconceivable. But when it came to his suit against CBS Corp. and other media outlets, the 7th Circuit swatted Pippen’s shot away with ease.

In 2011, Pippen sued multiple media companies over false reports that the former star filed for bankruptcy. In his suit, Pippen claimed negligence, false light and defamation, and he sought $10 million in damages. He also argued that because the stories were online, the media outlets should have easily been able to alter the false stories and should face consequences because they did not.

But on Aug. 21, the 7th Circuit said Pippen’s claims did not prove actual malice. In the decision, the court says he did not prove the media outlets “either knew the statements to be false or were recklessly indifferent to whether they were true or false.”

10th Circuit

Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming

Tax collection on Internet purchases is within TIA protection

Like many states, Colorado has struggled to enforce tax collection on Internet purchases from state residents. So in 2010, the state passed legislation requiring all noncollecting retailers to provide notice that tax is owed on each transaction and to provide annual purchase summaries to both customers and the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), a trade group of marketers, challenged the statute’s constitutionality under the Commerce Clause. A district court sided with the DMA, claiming there was no evidence the statute “cannot be served adequately by reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives.” The district court filed a permanent injunction against the law.

An August decision by the 10th Circuit disagreed. The court found that before ruling on whether the Commerce Clause was violated, it must first determine whether the Tax Injunction Act (TIA) precluded jurisdiction over the claims. The court ruled the statute was “squarely within the TIA’s protection” and ordered the district court to remove the injunction.

—Zach Warren

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