Court Issues Opinion

Yesterday, the United States District Court in Boston issued a 78-page pre-trial opinion in the matter of Peter Marcus et. al. v American Contract Bridge League. In its ruling, the Court dismissed all claims bought by Mr. Marcus and the other named plaintiffs under the Fair Labor Standards Act and all claims asserted by seven of the sixteen additional plaintiffs who opted to join the case. The Court also limited the claims of the remaining nine individuals who opted to join the case. Notably, the court found that ACBL had properly classified individuals in the positions of National Tournament Director, Associate National Tournament Director, Field Supervisor, Area Manager and Mentor as exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Court disagreed with ACBL’s decision to classify Tournament Directors as exempt from overtime under the same statute. The Court also concluded that, even if ACBL erred in its classification of Tournament Directors, it had not done so willfully and thus only a two-year (rather than three year) statute of limitations would apply to any claims. Similarly, the Court denied a motion by plaintiffs for an award of liquidated (double) damages related to the classification decisions. Finally, the Court agreed with ACBL that any overtime wages due to Tournament Directors should be calculated using the fluctuating workweek method. This means that, while non-exempt employees receive time and a half for overtime hours worked (1.5 x regular hourly rate), the Court determined that the salary ACBL had already paid to the employees covered the regular rate for all overtime hours, limiting any money to be paid now to ½ of their regular rate for each overtime hour worked (0.5 x regular hourly rate).

The Court also granted summary judgment in favor of the ACBL as to an individual retaliation claim that had been asserted by Peter Marcus.

The ACBL is generally pleased with the Court’s pre-trial opinion and will continue to study the opinion with its outside counsel to determine next steps in this matter. We look forward to final resolution of this case in the litigation process. As has been our practice with all litigation, we will continue not to comment generally beyond this update about the case and ask all of our members and employees to respect the rights and privacy of those who have participated in this process.

Linda J. Dunn
ACBL In-House Counsel
March 25, 2021