Latest on Overtime Rule Litigation: Texas District Judge Denies DOL’s Motion to Stay Pending Ruling by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
On January 3, 2017, Judge Amos L. Mazzant III issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in State of Nevada v. United States Department of Labor, denying the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Appeal of the court’s grant of a nationwide preliminary injunction against the new overtime rule. Judge Mazzant had conducted a telephone conference with the parties regarding the motion on December 30, 2016, and had promised to rule by January 3, 2017.
In its motion, which it filed on December 12, 2016, the DOL argued that the district court proceedings should be stayed pending a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, since the Fifth Circuit’s decision would “greatly impact” any further proceedings in the district court and that any ruling will control the merits on all matters pending in the district court. The motion was opposed by all plaintiffs.
Judge Mazzant’s short, two-and-a-half page ruling did not waste much time determining that the DOL’s motion to stay was without merit. According to Judge Mazzant, in order to determine whether a district court should grant a discretionary stay pending interlocutory appeal, it should employ the following four-factor test: “(1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.”
Judge Mazzant stated that there is no question that the issues presented on appeal—whether the DOL’s proposed overtime regulations are legal—are serious to both the litigants and to the public at large. Because of that, he stated that the DOL “must present a substantial case on the merits and show the balance of equities favor granting a stay.” According to Judge Mazzant, the DOL’s motion “does not present a substantial case on the merits.” Because of the DOL’s failure to meet this initial burden, Judge Mazzant stated he would not address whether the balance of equities weighed in favor of granting a stay. He concluded by stating that the “Defendants are not entitled to extraordinary relief and their motion to stay is DENIED.”
This ruling will allow Judge Mazzant, if he so chooses, to rule on the Business Plaintiffs’ pending Expedited Motion for Summary Judgment before a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.