Judge says Pennsylvania has jurisdiction in Amazon.com wages case

By Kyla Asbury | Aug 16, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge partially granted a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against Amazon.com and others for wage payment violations.

U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh granted the motion to dismiss pertaining to one count of the class action complaint against Scott Foreman and Herschel Lowe. But he denied the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in all other respects. He also denied the motion to dismiss for improper venue, according to the July 12 ruling.

"Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction is granted only as to the Maryland Plaintiffs’ claim in Count III against Defendants Foreman and Lowe," McHugh wrote. "The Maryland Plaintiffs nonetheless remain parties to this action, as Defendants TLT, Amazon Logistics and Amazon.com have not raised any challenges to jurisdiction. Defendants’ Motions are denied in all other respects."

The class-action lawsuit involved wage and hour claims made by plaintiffs Tyhee Hickman and Shanay Bolden, who were employed by TL Transportation (TLT), which is a delivery provider for Amazon. The plaintiffs claimed they were not being paid property, as they were not given overtime pay pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Foreman and Lowe argued they did not have sufficient connection with Pennsylvania for the case and that managerial decisions were made in Maryland.

McHugh disagreed, finding they had sufficient jurisdiction over the claims alleged.

"In short, I am persuaded that contacts with the forum that influence hiring, the conditions of employment, and the hours an employee works in a day or a week, are sufficiently related to wage and hour clams to give rise to personal jurisdiction in that forum," McHugh wrote.

Since the plaintiffs did not contest arguments made regarding Bolden, the Maryland plaintiff, in Count III of the class-action complaint, McHugh dismissed that complaint pertaining to Foreman and Lowe.

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