Barton v. House of Raeford Farms, Inc., No. 12-1943 (4th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, former and current employees, filed suit against Columbia Farms, asserting a claim for the payment of unpaid wages, withheld in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., and the South Carolina Payment of Wages Act (S.C. Wages Act), S.C. Code Ann. 41-10-10 to -110. Plaintiffs also asserted a second claim for retaliation against them for instituting workers' compensation proceedings, in violation of S.C. Code Ann. 41-1-80. The court reversed the jury award on the S.C. Wages Act claims, concluding that those claims were preempted by section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. 185, and should have been dismissed. As for the retaliation claims under S.C. Code Ann. 41-1-80, the court reversed as to 6 employees because they failed to present evidence satisfying the governing legal standards for recovery under state law. As to the retaliation claims of the remaining two employees, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.