Federal Court Rules in Favor of Compensating Police Officers for ``Donning and Doffing'' of Uniforms and Equipment

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On the same day attorneys for San Diego police officers asked a court here to reconsider and clarify its ruling on "donning and doffing" in an overtime case, a Northern California court issued a ruling in a similar case that supported the claims of the officers there.

This ruling is very favorable to our lawsuit and supports our motion for reconsideration

    "This is a very encouraging development," said Gregory Petersen of Jackson DeMarco Tidus Petersen & Peckenpaugh, the Chair of the Complex Litigation Group and lead counsel for the San Diego police officers in its suit against the city seeking compensation for, among other things, time spent dressing into and out of uniforms and equipment. "This ruling is very favorable to our lawsuit and supports our motion for reconsideration," Petersen added.

In Lemmon v. City of San Leandro, the U.S. District Court for Northern California held that the time spent "donning and doffing" the police uniform and equipment is compensable. The court's decision was based upon similar facts to those presented in the San Diego lawsuit.

In its ruling, the Northern California court specifically addressed the recent decision in San Diego, remarking that "This Court therefore also respectfully disagrees with Judge Sabraw of the Southern District of California. In Abbe v. City of San Diego, he ruled that 'the relevant inquiry is not whether the uniform itself or the safety gear itself is indispensable to the job -- they most certainly are -- but rather, the relevant inquiry is whether the nature of the work requires the donning and doffing process to be done on the employer's premises.' This 'process' standard is not in line with Ninth Circuit precedent." (Emphasis added.)

Coincidentally, the Northern California ruling was issued the same day Petersen and his legal team filed a motion for reconsideration and clarification in the San Diego case.

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Greg Petersen
Jackson DeMarco Tidus Petersen & Peckenpaugh
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