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Denial of Sentence Reduction Based on Diminished Capacity and a FLSA Case

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By FindLaw Staff on March 23, 2010 10:14 AM

Today, the Seventh Circuit decided a criminal matter involving a defendant's challenge to his sentence and an employment case involving a plaintiff's claim for overtime pay under the FLSA.

In US v. Portman, No. 09-1083, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to a conviction for multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and possessing and creating falsely altered checks, and a sentence near the low end of the guideline range on remand , from 60 months' to 48 months' imprisonment.

As stated in the decision: "Diminished capacity is a ground of 'recognized legal merit' for seeking a lesser sentence...and we have found abuse of discretion when judges have not considered or addressed uncontested evidence of diminished capacity."

Thus, in rejecting defendant's claim that the district court abused its discretion in not reducing his sentence based on diminished capacity, the court held that the district court found no causal link between his alleged diminished capacity and his crime.  In addition, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to reduce defendant's sentence based on the theory that the loss calculation of over $1 million overstated the seriousness of his offense.

In Schmidt v. Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc., No. 09-1902, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant in plaintiff's action for monetary relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) alleging that she was not paid overtime under the Act.

The court addressed the plaintiff's argument that she was not an "outside salesperson" as defined in the FLSA regulations.  As stated in the decision: "The undisputed facts show that Schmidt's primary duty was outside sales.  On average, Schmidt spent four to eight hours a day outside the office making in-person sales calls.  She visited the office on only about half of her workdays.  At the office, much of her work furthered her efforts to make sales."

Thus, in concluding that plaintiff's work related directly to her outside sales work and was exempt.  Furthermore, the district court did not err in holding that even if plaintiff's primary duty was not outside sales, the combination of her outside sales and administrative work exempts plaintiff from overtime requirements under the Act. 

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