In our last post we reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and fifty-plus other business groups suing to block the U.S. DOL’s overtime exemption rule from taking effect had not yet moved to expedite the court’s ruling on the case, making it unlikely that the court would issue any sort of ruling before the rules take effect on December 1, 2016. Well, now they have. In a motion for expedited summary judgment filed Friday October 14, the business groups are now asking the court to rule on the merits of their case on the same timetable as is set for its hearing of the motion for preliminary injunction in the parallel lawsuit being pursued by a coalition of 21 states. On Monday, the business groups followed up with a motion asking the court to consolidate their case with the parallel state lawsuit. According to the motion, the states and the DOL do not oppose consolidating the cases.
The Court’s docket indicates that the DOL’s response to the motion for summary judgment is due on October 31, 2016. The DOL’s response to the states’ parallel motion for a preliminary injunction is likewise due on October 31, with the states’ reply due on November 10 and any sur-reply by the DOL due on November 15. The motion is set for hearing on November 16, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.
Both cases are pending before District Judge Amos L. Mazzant. Mazzant was nominated to the bench by President Obama in 2014. He previously served as a United States Magistrate Judge from 2009 to 2014, and as a justice of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas from 2004 to 2009.
It is conceivable that these combined cases could offer employers some relief from the new rules before the effective date. But we’re not holding our breath. While employers might sensibly delay announcing any changes while these lawsuits play out, they should still be preparing to comply by December 1.