Mortgage Underwriters Represented by Nichols Kaster, PLLP Granted Partial Summary Judgment in Overtime Case

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On May 30, 2012, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment, and denied the defendants’ cross-motion, in a case seeking unpaid overtime on behalf of a class of mortgage underwriters.

Nichols Kaster, PLLP

On May 30, 2012, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted the plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary judgment, and denied the defendants’ cross-motion, in a case seeking unpaid overtime on behalf of a class of mortgage underwriters. The case is entitled Bollinger et al. v. Residential Capital, LLC, GMAC Mortgage, LLC, and Ally Financial, Inc., Civ. No. 2:10-cv-01123-RSM.

The plaintiffs, a group of over 90 mortgage underwriters, alleged that the defendants improperly classified them as “exempt” employees, thereby denying them proper overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The defendants claimed that the plaintiffs were exempt under the FLSA’s administrative exemption, and that the defendants were entitled to a “good faith” defense under the FLSA. The district court disagreed. The district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on the defendants’ administrative exemption and good faith defenses. The court held that the plaintiffs were not exempt from overtime because, among other reasons, they “did not perform the sort of high-level analysis and counseling that constitutes exempt administrative work in the financial industry.” With regard to the defendants’ good faith defense, the court held that the defendants did not act in conformity with any relevant guidance from the Department of Labor.

The district court also denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ claims for liquidated damages, and the plaintiffs’ claims that the defendants’ violations were willful. The court stated that it would defer its ruling on liquidated damages until a final decision on the merits. The court held that the plaintiffs are entitled to a trial on their claims of willfulness.

The plaintiffs are represented by Paul Lukas, Robert Schug, and Matthew Helland of Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis and San Francisco. Additional information regarding the case can be found at http://www.nka.com.

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