Walden Jr., et al v. The State of Nevada, ex rel Nevada Department of Corrections, Case No. 3:14-cv-00320-MMD-WGC (originally filed First Judicial Dist. Nev. May 12, 2014; removed to D. Nev. Jun. 17, 2014)

This collective and class action lawsuit was filed on May 12, 2014 on behalf of correctional officers employed at various correctional facilities throughout the state of Nevada. Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of correctional officers employed in the state of Nevada from May 12, 2008 to the present.

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UPDATE July 2021

Case Background and Abbreviated Procedural History

In May of 2014, the initial class action complaint was filed in the First Judicial District Court of Nevada, alleging unpaid wages for Nevada Corrections Officers (“COs”).  NDOC removed the case from state court to the federal U.S. District Court in June of 2014 based on federal question jurisdiction pursuant to the federal FLSA.  The federal District Court granted conditional certification of the FLSA class, and Notice/Consent to Join forms were sent out in June 2015.

In early March of 2018, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Miranda Du dismissed the Nevada state law claims, without prejudice to reassert, on the grounds that COs must first exhaust administrative remedies but allowed the federal FLSA claims to proceed.  The Case has been actively litigated since; many depositions have been taken, time and pay data has been exchanged, prison site visits have been conducted, hundreds of motions have been filed, and multiple hearings have been conducted.

In March of 2019, NDOC argued for the first time that they were immune from liability based on the sovereign immunity doctrine and appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  The Ninth Circuit found in favor of the Plaintiff COs, rejecting NDOC’s sovereign immunity argument based on the fact that NDOC removed the case to federal court.  You can view the oral argument here, and the Court’s decision can be accessed here.

In November of 2019, NDOC petitioned the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing of the sovereign immunity argument.  In December 2019, the Ninth Circuit declined to rehear the arguments and affirmed its decision that the State of Nevada waived sovereign immunity when NDOC removed the case from state to federal court.

NDOC then filed an appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.  In November 2020, the Supreme Court denied certiorari because the question of state sovereign immunity is an issue for the Supreme Court of Nevada to decide.  Judge Du then certified the question to the Supreme Court of Nevada, and the question of whether Nevada has waived sovereign immunity for wage claims pursuant to the federal FLSA has been fully briefed as of June 2021.

Where The Lawsuit Stands Now

Plaintiffs have filed a motion with the U.S. District Court requesting permission to reassert their Nevada state law claims while the Supreme Court of Nevada considers the sovereign immunity issue.  We are patiently waiting to hear if the Supreme Court of Nevada schedules the case for oral argument or makes a ruling without oral argument.  We are also awaiting Judge Du’s decision on whether Plaintiffs can reassert their state law wage claims.

What You Should Do

Please make sure our offices have your current contact information in order to allow us to continue to contact you and provide future updates.  You may also call or email to confirm that we have your Consent to Join form on file.  If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our offices via telephone or email at 775.284.1500 or info@thiermanbuck.com.