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Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp.

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
11-204 9th Cir. Apr 16, 2012 Jun 18, 2012 5-4 Alito OT 2011

Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys work for and/or contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents the petitioners in this case.

Holding: The petitioners – pharmaceutical sales representatives whose primary duty is to obtain nonbinding commitments from physicians to prescribe their employer’s prescription drugs in appropriate cases – qualify as outside salesmen under the most reasonable interpretation of the Department of Labor’s regulations.

Plain English Summary: In this case, two sales representatives of a large pharmaceutical company sued their employer, alleging that they were owed overtime wages. The pharmaceutical company argued the sales representatives were not entitled to overtime wages because they were classified as “outside salesmen,” who are exempt from the federal law that requires payment of overtime wages. The Court held that the sales representatives were outside salesmen and as such are not entitled to overtime wages.

Judgment: Affirmed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Alito on June 18, 2012. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan joined.

Briefs and Documents

Merits briefs for the Petitioners

Amicus Briefs Supporting the Petitioners

Merits Briefs for the Respondent

Amicus Briefs in Support of the Respondent

Certiorari-stage documents