Civil Procedure Keyed to Spencer
Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk
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Symczyk (Plaintiff) was a nurse formerly employed by Genesis Healthcare Corporation (Defendant) who sued Defendant in 2009 for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq., involving pay deductions for break times that were spent working. Plaintiff sued on her own behalf and that of “all others similarly situated,” as permitted by the collective-action provisions of the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Defendant then made an offer of judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 68 to settle Plaintiff’s individual claim for $7,500 in alleged unpaid wages, plus attorney's fees, costs, and expenses. Per Defendant’s stipulation, the offer was deemed withdrawn after Plaintiff did not accept within ten days. No other claimants joined Plaintiff’s collective-action claim. Defendant moved for dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that Plaintiff’s claim was moot, because Defendant had offered her complete relief. Plaintiff argued that Defendant was improperly trying to terminate her individual claim before the court could address the collective-action claim. The district court ruled for Defendant and dismissed the suit. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit agreed the individual claim was moot, but reversed, finding that Defendant’s attempt to “pick off” the individual claim interfered with the collective-action process. Plaintiff did not challenge the ruling that her own claim was moot on appeal. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on the issue of whether the collective-action claim was justiciable.
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