Judge Posner’s recent opinion in Mitchell v. JCG Industries, Inc. enters a Twilight Zone of appellate decisionmaking that is truly bewildering. The issue was whether the FLSA requires poultry workers to be paid overtime for “donning and doffing” protective clothing at the beginning and end of their lunch breaks. Judge Posner answered that question, in part, by timing how long it took three of the court’s staff to don and doff the clothing. The parties had submitted conflicting testimony about this precise issue at the summary judgment stage. Nonetheless, Judge Posner, joined by Judge Kaanne, affirmed the grant of summary judgment in the employer’s favor based in part on the results of the in-chambers experiment.
California appellate courts continue to work through application of Reid v. Google (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512 to evidentiary objections raised in summary judgment proceedings. For those facing this issue—either in the trial court or on appeal—a new decision by Division Three of the Second District is a must read. (Tarle v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. (2nd Dist., Div. 3, May 22, 2012 No. B224739) __Cal.App.4th__.)