Olson v. United States, No. 19-35389 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of the BPA, in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that BPA violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by willfully interfering with her rights under the Act. The district court found that plaintiff did not prove that BPA willfully interfered with her FMLA rights and, therefore, that her claims were barred by the relevant statute of limitations.
The panel held that the district court did not clearly err in determining that, even if plaintiff had proven a violation of her FMLA rights, BPA's interference was not willful. In this case, the district court applied the McLaughlin standard for willfulness, and properly concluded that there is little evidence in the record that BPA either knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter of whether its conduct was prohibited by the statute. The district court did not clearly err in finding that these facts did not constitute willfulness. Therefore, plaintiff's claim is barred by the two-year statute of limitations in 29 U.S.C. 2617(c)(1), rather than the three-year statute of limitations under section 2617(c)(2).