Eleventh Circuit Mentions Split Re Liquidated Damages Issue in FLSA
Per Rodriguez v. Farm Stores Grocery, Inc., --- F.3d ----, 2008 WL 601845 (11th Cir. Mar. 06, 2008):
The parties cite the decisions of three circuits showing a clear split over whether the standards for finding willfulness and for finding the absence of good faith are the same so that the jury's finding on the former issue controls the judge's finding on the latter one. Compare Brinkman v. Dep't of Corr., 21 F.3d 370, 373 (10th Cir.1994) (“The same willfulness standard for the statute of limitations issue applies to the liquidated damages issue.” (citation omitted)), with Broadus v. O.K. Indus., Inc., 226 F.3d 937, 944 (8th Cir.2000) (noting that the “jury's decision on willfulness is distinct from the district judge's decision to award liquidated damages” (citation omitted)), and Fowler v. Land Mgmt. Groupe, Inc., 978 F.2d 158, 162 (4th Cir.1992) (“[T]he explicit language of [the safe harbor provision] expressly vest[s] discretion to award liquidated damages in the hands of the trial judge. We do not believe that, in light of this clear delegation of authority, Congressional intent would be effectuated by a scheme in which, in every case, the trial court's discretion to award liquidated damages would be completely constrained by the jury's determination on ‘willfulness' for purposes of the statute of limitations.”).
Interesting as the issue is, we don't have to pick a side in the circuit split in order to decide this appeal.