Anthony Wright v. Waste Pro USA Inc, et al., No. 22-12261 (11th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff sued his former employer for allegedly underpaying him for overtime hours. Plaintiff worked in Florida, but he sued Waste Pro USA, Inc., and its subsidiary, Waste Pro of Florida, Inc., as one of several named plaintiffs in a purported collective action in the District of South Carolina. That court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against Waste Pro USA and Waste Pro of Florida for lack of personal jurisdiction, and it denied as moot his motion to sever his claims and transfer them to a district court in Florida. Instead of appealing or seeking other relief in the South Carolina court, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Southern District of Florida, alleging the same claims. The Florida district court granted summary judgment in favor of Waste Pro USA and Waste Pro of Florida because it determined that Plaintiff’s complaint was untimely.
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The court explained that Plaintiff had “alternate ways of preserving his cause of action short of invoking the doctrine of equitable tolling.” He could have filed a motion for reconsideration of or for relief from the dismissal order and argued that transfer was in the interest of justice. He also could have appealed the dismissal. “The right to appeal generally is regarded as an adequate legal remedy [that] forecloses equitable relief.” The court wrote that a diligent plaintiff would have filed a protective action or pursued a legal remedy in the South Carolina proceeding. Further, to the extent Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if equitable tolling does not apply in this case, that is the consequence of his own failure to pursue his remedies at law. Equity will not intervene in such circumstances.