Attorneys representing Vail Resorts employees who claim the company has systematically violated federal and state labor laws argue that their proposed class action lawsuit should continue. Not just under the federal fair labor laws, but also under the labor laws of Colorado and eight other states where the company operates its ski resorts.
Vail Resorts has argued that all claims outside of Colorado or the Fair Labor Standards Act should be dismissed.
The pending lawsuit was filed in the Colorado District Court on December 3 on behalf of Randy Dean Quint, John Linn and Mark Molina, who are current or former employees of Beaver Creek Resort.
The lawsuit alleges that Vail Resorts have paid Quint, Linn, and Molina, as well as thousands of other seasonal employees, including ski and snowboard instructors, ticket scanners, and lift operators, to varying degrees for their entire shift for years not “off the clock”. Work that the company requires or accepts for overtime, for training, or for the use, purchase or maintenance of ski and snowboard equipment and mobile phones that the company requires, or accepts from employees.
California-based attorneys Edward P. Dietrich and Benjamin Galdston filed the lawsuit on behalf of the three employees. You refused to comment on the case.
The lawsuit seeks class action status under federal fair labor law and class action status under the wage and labor laws of Colorado and eight other states: California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. The damage is tentatively estimated at 100 to 150 million US dollars.
Twelve other people have since also signed declarations of consent with Dietrich and Galdston to settle the lawsuit against the company. All individuals reportedly have worked for Vail Resorts and were not adequately paid for all hours worked, overtime or expenses. according to court records.
In February, Vail Resorts filed its first response to the lawsuit, a motion for partial dismissal. The company did not respond to requests for comment.
The company, which operates 34 ski resorts in North America, argued in its motion that Quint, Linn and Molina, and the then 10 other people who agreed to join the lawsuit, are unable to secure state labor claims for themselves prosecute yourself or others for Vail Resorts employees who argue that all state employment law claims outside of Colorado should be dismissed.
“Plaintiffs say they have never worked in these states and have not demonstrated that they are otherwise subject to the laws of those states,” said the company’s motion, filed by law firms Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. “As demonstrated by several cases in this county, plaintiffs have no violation under the laws of these states and are unable to make claims under those laws for themselves or any alleged class.”
“Vail (Resorts) is wrong,” argue Dietrich and Galdston in their response to the company’s motion filed last Friday. The attorneys cite several appeals proceedings “which Vail ignored” arguing that the named plaintiffs “do not have to live or work in a state authorized to bring state claims on behalf of absent class members who are alive.” in these states. “
In addition, a federal court may assert “supplementary jurisdiction” for claims under state law that the court would otherwise have no material jurisdiction to hear, as long as the claims are all part of the same case or controversy as the claims originally held by the court Jurisdiction. “The complaint alleges that all state legal claims stem from the same Vail policies and practices and are part of the same case,” the response said.
According to a pre-trial resolution dated March 25, Vail Resorts has until April 23 to respond again to its motion to partially dismiss the claims in states outside of Colorado.
In the meantime, the parties are expected to file motions for or against Vail Resorts’ obligation to provide contact information for employees in the coming weeks so that attorneys can send notices of a conditional class action under fair labor law, though each possible class action lawsuit would have yet to be upheld by the court.
Tom Lotshaw can be reached at [email protected]