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Media Alerts - Davis v. Signal International Texas GP, LLC - Fifth Circuit
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September 3, 2013
  Davis v. Signal International Texas GP, LLC - Fifth Circuit
Headline: Fifth Circuit Affirms that Employer's Mass Layoff Violated the WARN Act for Lack of Lawful Notice.

Area of Law: Employment.

Issue Presented: Whether the defendant's two facilities were correctly found to be a single site of employment and whether the day before the layoffs began was a permissible date from which to measure the size of the defendant's workforce.

Brief Summary: The plaintiffs sued their former employer Signal International for violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act ("WARN Act"), which requires that certain employers provide written notice sixty days before a "mass layoff" at a "single site of employment." The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas entered judgment for the employees. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The Fifth Circuit first held that the defendant's two facilities were correctly deemed a single site of employment. The Court ruled that the facilities fell within the flexibility created by the language in 20 C.F.R. § 639.3(i)(8) allowing for "truly unusual organizational situations" to refute the normal finding of separate buildings establishing separate sites. The Court relied on the shared staff, the shared operational purpose, and the proximity of the two facilities to establish them as a single site. The Court also held that the snapshot date the district court used for judging whether there was a mass layoff was acceptable because the governing regulation, 20 C.F.R. § 639.5(a)(2), offered alternatives to the standard snapshot date, which is the date the lawful notice would have been required. In this case, there was no evidence to prove the employment data on the standard date. Instead, relying on an example in the WARN Act's preamble and language in the regulation allowing for alternative snapshot dates, the Court authorized a snapshot from the day before the layoffs.

For the full opinion, please see:

Panel: Circuit Judges Reavley, Elrod, and Graves

Argument Date: 8/8/2013

Date of Issued Opinion: 8/28/2013

Docket Number: No. 12-41262

Decided: Affirmed

Case Alert Author: LaDelle Davenport

Counsel: Bryan Adam Terrell, Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell, for Plaintiff-Appellee Davis; David Sinnott Bland, LeBlanc Bland, P.L.L.C., for Defendant-Appellant Signal International.

Author of the Opinion: Judge Reavley

Case Alert Circuit Supervisor: Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

    Posted By: Aaron Bruhl @ 09/03/2013 03:36 PM     5th Circuit  

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