Shea v. United States

In the United States Court of Federal Claims No. 16-793C (Filed: January 31, 2018) ********************************** ) JOHN SHEA, ) Claim for damages under the Fair Labor ) Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216(b); Plaintiff, ) position as Investigations Specialist with ) NCIS designated as exempt; frequent duty v. ) as a “team lead;” genuine disputes over ) material facts UNITED STATES, ) ) Defendant. ) ) ********************************** ) Linda Lipsett, Bernstein & Lipsett, P.C., Washington, D.C., for plaintiff. With her on the briefs and at the hearing were Daniel M. Rosenthal and Alice C. Hwang, James & Hoffman, P.C., Washington, D.C. David M. Kerr, Trial Attorney, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., for defendant. With him on the briefs were Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Robert E. Kirschman, Jr., Director, and Claudia Burke, Assistant Director, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. Of counsel were Henry Karp, Senior Trial Attorney, Naval Litigation Office, and S. Christopher Mullins, Jr., Assistant Counsel, Civilian Personnel Law, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Quantico, VA. OPINION AND ORDER LETTOW, Judge. The salient question in this case is whether plaintiff John Shea, an Investigations Specialist with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (“NCIS”), was entitled to overtime pay for hours he worked in excess of forty hours per week under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, ch. 676, 52 Stat. 1060 (codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219) (“FLSA”); see Compl. ¶ 14. The NCIS has as its mission “to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps__ashore afloat, and in cyberspace.” NCIS, Mission Statement available at (last accessed January 26, 2018). Mr. Shea alleges that his position, coded by the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) as GS-1801- 12, was wrongfully designated as “FLSA exempt” and that he was consequently “deprived . . . of regularly scheduled overtime and night differential to which he [wa]s entitled.” Compl. ¶¶ 1, 11. Mr. Shea contends that the government has failed to rebut the FLSA’s presumption against exemption from the Act’s overtime pay provisions, and thus that he is entitled to: (1) a declaratory judgment stating that he is not exempt from, but rather, protected by, the FLSA’s overtime provisions, and (2) an award of “all back overtime under the FLSA and Title 5 [of the United States Code], night differential and other pay, leave, holiday, and excused and other paid absence compensation, and benefits, interest, and liquidated damages due and owing . . . from 2010 to a date which is not more than 30 days before the date on which the judgment herein is paid.” Compl. at 5. Mr. Shea also seeks attorneys’ fees and costs under the FLSA, the Back Pay Act of 1966, Pub. L. No. 89-380, 80 Stat. 94 (repealed and enacted as positive law in Revised Title 5 by Pub. L. No. 89-554, 80 Stat. ...

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