In Rose v. Wildflower Bread Co., the United States District Court for the District of Arizona denied a defendant’s motion to strike time-barred consent forms. 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5426 (D. Arix. Jan. 20, 2011). Plaintiff, an Assistant Manager at one of Defendant’s restaurants, filed a case on June 23, 2009 on her own behalf and on behalf of other Assistant Managers seeking recovery of unpaid overtime compensation. Defendant classified all of its Assistant Managers as exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Plaintiff alleged on behalf of all similarly situated Assistant Managers that they because they regularly performed physical or manual work, they were entitled to overtime pay. The Court granted conditional certification on May 4, 2010. Two former Assistant Managers, however, submitted their consent forms more than two years after they terminated their positions with Defendant. Accordingly, Defendant argued that the forms should be stricken.
Under the FLSA, normally the statute of limitations for recovery of overtime compensation is two years; but, if a Defendant’s violation of the FLSA’s overtime provisions is deemed willful, the statute of limitations is three years. Defendant argued that because there had been no prior litigation as well as no prior audits by state or federal authorities, the statue of limitations could only be two years. The Court held, however, that it was premature before the close of discovery to determine whether Defendant’s alleged violations were willful and, therefore, denied Defendant’s motion to strike the Assistant Managers’ consent forms.