District Court Holds that FLSA Notice Form Should Be Delivered to All Class Members Employed During the Time Period Beginning Three Years Prior to the Filing of the Complaint

In the wake of conditional certification, lawyers often argue about whether the conditionally certified FLSA class period should run from (i) three years prior to the issuance of the notice form or (ii) three years prior to the filing of the complaint.  Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl recently issued a decision squarely addressing this issue.  In Winfield v. Citibank, N.A., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16449 (S.D.N.Y.), the Court held that notice should be sent to all individuals who fall within the definition of the conditionally certified class within three years of the filing of the complaint.  The Court reached this conclusion even though at most opt-in plaintiffs can only recover for the three years prior to actually filing a consent to join the lawsuit, stating “because equitable tolling issues often arise for prospective plaintiffs, courts frequently permit notice to be keyed to the three-year period prior to the filing of the complaint, ‘with the understanding that challenges to the timeliness of individual plaintiffs’ actions will be entertained at a later date.’”  In fact, due to the plaintiff’s Rule 23 claims under the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) in Winfield, the allowed the notice to go out to individuals who worked as personal bankers during the six years prior to the filing of the complaint. 

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