Friday, December 21, 2007

Obstacle Preemption

In Anderson v. Sara Lee Corp., 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 26723 (4th Cir., Nov. 19, 2007), the Court held in a FLSA case that state claims for breach of contract, negligence and fraud should have been dismissed as preempted by the FLSA. Judge King, writing for the panel, held that, because the FLSA's enforcement scheme is an exclusive one, the state contract, negligence and fraud claims were precluded under a theory of obstacle preemption. In contrast, the Eleventh Circuit in Avery v. City of Talladega, 24 F.3d 1337, 1348 (11th Cir. 1994), allowed a claim for breach of contract which was coterminous with the FLSA claim. Presumably, Paukstis v. Kenwood Golf & Country Club, Inc., 241 F.Supp. 2d 551, 559-60 (D. Md. 2003), which held that a state negligence claim did "not necessarily conflict with the purpose of the FLSA's remedial scheme, at least where a plaintiff seeks identical damages under both federal and state law", is no longer good law in the Fourth Circuit in light of the Sara Lee decision.