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Challenge to District Court's Use of FWW Method to Calculate Pay, Plus Criminal Matters and ERISA Claim

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By FindLaw Staff on August 04, 2010 8:00 PM

US v. Larsen, 08-3088, concerned a challenge to a defendant's convictions for kidnapping and interstate domestic violence and sentence to life in prison, for brutally beating his ex-wife, stuffing her in a garbage can, and leaving her in a storage facility.  In affirming, the court held that the Interstate Domestic Violence Act lies well within the scope of Congress's power to regulate the channels or instrumentalities of, or persons in, interstate commerce.  Court also held that defendant's convictions are not multiplicitous as the crimes of kidnapping and interstate domestic violence contain different elements and each requires proof of a fact that the other does not.  Also, district court's admission of physical evidence obtained during the warrantless search of defendant's home was ultimately harmless, and defendant's life sentence was not unreasonable.

  • US v. Etchin, 09-1079, concerned a challenge to the convictions and sentences of defendants for crack cocaine related offenses.  In affirming, the court held that the officers' warrantless entry violated the Fourth Amendment, but the evidence was admissible as the link between the initial entry and the later discovered evidence was sufficiently attenuated to dissipate the taint of the illegal search.  Court also held that there is no error in the sentences imposed.

    Urnikis-Negro v. Am. Family Prop. Serv., 08-3117, involved a plaintiff's suit against her employers for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act  for mistakenly treating her as an administrative employee who was exempt from the overtime provisions of the statute.  In affirming the district court' s calculation of plaintiff's regular rate of pay and the premium to which she was entitled for the overtime hours she worked, the court held that, although 29 C.F.R. section 778.114(a) itself does not provide the authority for applying the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method in a misclassification case, it was appropriate for the district court to apply the FWW method in this case as the authority to do so is found in the Supreme Court's decision in Overnight Motor Transp. Co. v. Missel, 316 U.S. 572 62 S. Ct. 1216 (1942), which approved this method of calculating an employee's regular rate of pay and corresponding overtime premium.

    Holmstrom v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 09-2173, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment for MetLife on plaintiff's claim for benefits and MetLife's counterclaim to obtain a setoff for Social Security payments plaintiff received, in plaintiff's ERISA action against Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) for termination of her long-term disability benefits.  In reversing, the court remanded the matter as plaintiff has shown several other reasons for finding that MetLife acted arbitrarily and capriciously in terminating her benefits and then sticking with that decision through the administrative reviews for which plaintiff provided exactly the sort of detailed information that MetLife had demanded.  Thus, plaintiff's long-term benefits must be reinstated retroactively as of August 5, 2005, and on remand, the district court must have an opportunity to consider plaintiff's request for attorney fees and prejudgment interest.

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