Earlier this week, a federal judge denied the Department of Labor’s (DOL) motion to stay District Court proceedings in the overtime rule litigation.
The DOL had asked the District Court – which already issued an injunction blocking the overtime rule from taking effect last month – to refrain from moving forward in the case until after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled on the government’s appeal of the injunction. This means that Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas could rule on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, which would effectively strike down the rule entirely.
In issuing the preliminary injunction to block the overtime rule, Mazzant already signaled he is inclined to side with the 21 states and business groups (including ASAE) that challenged the new overtime rule. “The state plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits because the Final Rule exceeds the Department’s authority,” Mazzant said.
The appeals court last month granted the government’s request for an expedited hearing of its appeal, but oral arguments will begin after January 31 – well after the new administration is in office. President-Elect Trump and his pick to head the DOL, fast food executive Andrew Puzder, have been critical of the overtime rule but have not said whether they will defend the regulation once in office.
Perhaps hedging against the possibility that the Trump administration will drop the appeal, the Texas AFL-CIO has asked the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for the ability to intervene as a defendant in the lawsuit. That request – along with the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment – is pending before Judge Mazzant.