Apologies to John Steinbeck, but in some ways, both 2013 and 2014 have been the winters of FLSA plaintiffs’ discontent on the East Coast. Last summer, the Second Circuit (which covers New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) issued a number of decisions tightening pleading standards under the Supreme Court’s decisions in Iqbal and Twombly. In

Bobby Bare - Winner.JPGOne of the many songs written by Shel Silverstin became a hit for Bobby Bare back in 1976, and the title of Bare’s album that appears in the headline of this post. “The Winner” tells the story about a man who “won” every fight he had ever fought—with the broken bones, glass eye, arthritis, dislocated knees and more to show for it. Just as in the world of Shel Silverstein’s lyrics, being “The Winner” in a wage and hour lawsuit isn’t always that great.

Before the Labor Day holiday, I read on Twitter (by the way—are you following @WageHourInsight yet?) about the supposed “success” a restaurant had in defending its wage and hour practices at trial. I did a double-take. After reading the Southern District of New York’s opinion in Mendez v. International Food House, I would bet that, like the “Tiger Man McCool” in Shel’s hit song, the restaurant isn’t feeling much like “The Winner” now. Litigating a wage and hour case through trial is rarely going to be a victory by any definition after you consider the costs and time expended (even assuming you prevail).


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