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Monday, July 16, 2012

Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk: US Supreme Court Will Decide Whether a Full Value Offer of Compromise to a Class Representative Renders FLSA Collective Action Moot

In Symczyk v. Genesis HealthCare Corp., 656 F.3d 189 (2011), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a collective action brought under § 216(b) of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not become moot when the defendant makes a Rule 68 offer of compromise to a putative representative before the representative moves for "conditional certification" and before any other plaintiff opts into the action.

The Supreme Court of the United States granted the employer's petition for certiorari on June 25, 2012, under the name Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk (Case No. 11-1059). The Court states the question presented as follows:
Whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the lone plaintiff receives an offer from the defendants to satisfy all of the plaintiff's claims.
Based on the composition of this Court and the phrasing of the question, I would assume that the answer will be in the affirmative. If that is the case, it will be very difficult if not impossible to prosecute FLSA collective actions in the future.

The Court will hear the case in the term that begins in October, 2012, and we can expect a ruling by the end of June, 2013. The Court's docket sheet is here

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