U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

December 2016 Archives

Worker's Emotional Distress Damages for Retaliation Upheld by 5th Cir.

A federal appeals court ruled that a worker can claim emotional distress damages for an employer's retaliation on a wage claim.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals joined other federal circuits in considering remedies available to workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The appellate court said the FLSA authorizes emotional damages as "legal and equitable relief" on account of employer retaliation.

In reversing and remanding, the appeals panel said the trial court must consider additional evidence of emotional distress and award damages accordingly. Santiago Pineda won only overtime and retaliation damages at trial.

Overtime Case on Maximum Overdrive

The Fifth Circuit will expedite a case to decide whether overtime wages will potentially double for millions of Americans.

In a one-page order, the circuit court said it will fast-track the appeal of a preliminary injunction blocking overtime rules that would have taken effect on Dec. 1, 2016. A district court judge had enjoined the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing its new overtime rules, which could have raised the minimum salary level from $455 per week to $913 per week for white-collar workers.

The appeals court set a briefing schedule that will challenge the participants to work through the holidays. Briefs are due Dec. 16, 2016; Dec. 23, 2016; Jan. 17, 2017; Jan. 23, 2017; and Jan. 31, 2017. A hearing will be set to follow at that time.

Patent Infringement Can't Give Rise to Antitrust Liability, 5th Cir. Rules

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals let the air out of a $340 million verdict against a syringe manufacturer, sending the case back to the trial court for a recalculation of damages.

The court reversed the anti-trust portion of the verdict, but upheld a false advertising claim. As a result, the trial judge will have to undo damages that were awarded under the Sherman Anti-trust Act and determine any potential damages under the Lanham Act. Becton Dickinson & Co., the largest manufacturer of syringes in the country, still faces substantial liability for falsely advertising that it had the "the world's sharpest needle" and that it had "the lowest waste space."

"First, patent infringement, which operates to increase competition, is not anticompetitive conduct," the appeals court said in reversing the anti-trust decision. Second, the justices said, the false advertising claim was nonexistent for an anti-trust claim.