Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

TOBIN v. WILSON

April 24, 1951

TOBIN, SECRETARY OF LABOR, FOR AND ON BEHALF OF WILEY
v.
WILSON.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sullivan, District Judge.

This is a motion by plaintiff to strike from defendant's amended answer subparagraphs (1) and (3) of defense numbered 2, defense numbered 3 except the last sentence thereof, defense numbered 4, and defense numbered 9.

Plaintiff Maurice J. Tobin, Secretary of Labor, brings this action for and on behalf of Joseph E. Wiley to recover from defendant unpaid overtime compensation due to the said Joseph E. Wiley under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, Act of June 25, 1938, c. 676, 52 Stat. 1060, 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq.

On January 25, 1950, amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 went into effect. In addition to provisions not in any way affecting the issues in the instant case, Section 16 of the Act was amended by the addition of subsection (c). Subsection (c) provides in substance that the Administrator is authorized to supervise the payment of the unpaid minimum wages or the unpaid overtime compensation owing to any employee or employees. When a written request is filed by any employee with the Administrator claiming unpaid minimum wages or unpaid overtime compensation, the Administrator may bring an action to recover the amount of such claim: "Provided, That this authority to sue shall not be used by the Administrator in any case involving an issue of law which has not been settled finally by the courts, and in any such case no court shall have jurisdiction over such action or proceeding initiated or brought by the Administrator if it does involve any issue of law not so finally settled."

It is plaintiff's contention that the defense in subparagraph (1) of defense numbered 2 is insufficient in law. The defense asserted was that because the Act under certain circumstances provides an exemption from the operation of Section 6 and Section 7 of the Act, this Court is thus deprived of jurisdiction to hear this cause. Thus, defendant, having raised a question as to whether under the facts he is entitled to a 13(a)(2) exemption, assumes that he is entitled to said exemption and within the said subparagraph (1) pleads this as a bar to the Court's jurisdiction under Section 16(c) of the Act.

Plaintiff asserts that the defense raised by defendant which is provided by said section may be available, depending upon the facts as they are developed at the trial, but it must be affirmatively raised, the burden of proof borne by the defendant, Helliwell v. Haberman, 2 Cir., 140 F.2d 833, and the issue decided by the Court, a function which it could not perform unless it has jurisdiction. The defendant cannot deprive the Court of jurisdiction by raising a defense which is itself dependent upon the exercise of jurisdiction. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a law regulating commerce. United States v. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 61 S.Ct. 451, 85 L.Ed. 609. Since plaintiff's right of action is given by section 16(c) of the Act, it necessarily follows that this is an action arising under the law regulating commerce. Thus the court has power to hear and determine issues involved in this case. Martin v. Lain Oil & Gas Co., D.C., 36 F. Supp. 252.

What defendant is actually contending is that plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action, because he has not negatived the applicability of section 13(a)(2). Since this defense goes to the cause of action rather than jurisdiction, it is insufficient at law and should be stricken. A plaintiff in order to state a cause of action under the Fair Labor Standards Act is not required to allege that its exemptions are inapplicable. Schmidtke v. Conesa, 1 Cir., 141 F.2d 634.

Since the court has jurisdiction by virtue of section 16(c) of the Act and title 28 U.S.C. § 1337, the defense of subparagraph (1) of paragraph 2 has no merit and should be stricken.

In addition, subparagraph (3) of defense numbered 2 contains two defenses raised by defendant. Defendant contends that this court does not have jurisdiction over this action:

(A) because under Section 16(c) the Secretary of Labor may not bring an action for violations occurring prior to January 25, 1950 — the effective date of the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1949, and

(B) because this action involves an issue of law which has not been settled finally by the Courts, to wit, whether under Section 16(c), the Secretary of Labor may bring an action for violations occurring prior to January 25, 1950 — the effective date of the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1949.

Plaintiff submits that defense (A) above is insufficient in law and should be stricken. The language of the Act in regard to the retroactive effect of Section 16(c) is plain and leaves no room for doubt as to what was intended. When Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1949, it made clear that an employer's liability for any act or omission occuring prior to the effective date of the Amendments continued after the effective date thereof. Thus, Section 16(d) expressly provided:

"No amendment made by this Act shall affect any penalty or liability with respect to any act or omission occurring prior to the effective date of this Act * * *." 29 U.S.C.A. § 216 note.

In the instant case, the complaint charges a liability with respect to acts or omissions occurring prior to January 25, 1950. In other words, the defendant failed to pay overtime compensation due employee Joseph E. Wiley for excessive hours worked during said workweeks, which resulted in a liability of $248.01. By the express terms of Section 16(d), supra, this liability is in nowise changed by the Amendments. The defendant's liability is an existing liability. The liability which was incurred as a result of the overtime violations has not been changed. The liability continues to exist by virtue of the express language of the statute. What has been changed ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.