IADC Amicus Briefs.

The IADC amicus curiae program has been active in recent months. The following brief was filed by the IADC since the last Defense Counsel Journal issue:

Third Circuit Agrees with IADC Amicus Brief in Requiring Personal Jurisdiction in FLSA Cases (7/26/2022)

The IADC filed an amicus brief in the Third Circuit in Fischer v. Federal Express Corp., a Federal Labor Standards Act case dealing with the issue of personal jurisdiction. A Pennsylvania resident had filed the FLSA action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and individuals in New York and Maryland sought to join the case. The District Court did not allow the two opt-in plaintiffs to join, reasoning that under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Sup. Ct., the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over FedEx with respect to the out-of-state claims. The opt-in plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the Bristol-Myers Squibb ruling applies only to state claims, not the FLSA.

The IADC's amicus brief explained that the Supreme Court's decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb applies to mass actions, regardless of whether filed in state or federal court. Bristol-Myers Squibb was a mass tort action filed in California state court. Some of the plaintiffs were California residents; most were from elsewhere. The Court concluded that because BMS was not subject to general jurisdiction in California, and the non-resident plaintiffs' claims had no tie to California, BMS could not be subjected to specific jurisdiction in California for those claims.

The brief continued that there is no meaningful difference between a mass tort action and a collective action for purposes of this analysis. Like a mass tort action, the plaintiffs in a collective action are parties as soon as they file their written consent to become a party with the court. To this end, if plaintiffs-appellants and their counsel wish to have a nationwide collective action against FedEx, they can do so, either in Delaware (FedEx's state of incorporation) or Tennessee (FedEx's principal place of business). They have no right to bring such an action in Pennsylvania, where the courts do not have general jurisdiction over FedEx or specific jurisdiction over FedEx with respect to these claims.

The Third Circuit agreed with this reasoning, concluding that "the specific jurisdiction analysis for an FLSA collection action in federal court operates the same as it would for an FLSA collection action, or any other traditional in...

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