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Armstrong v. Martin Marietta Corp.

138 F.3d 1374 (1998)

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Armstrong v. Martin Marietta Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

138 F.3d 1374 (1998)

Facts

Former employees (employees) (plaintiffs) sought class-action certification in an already pending class action against their former employer, Martin Marietta Corporation (Martin) (defendant), for alleged age discrimination. Some of the employees sought to join the pending class action as named plaintiffs; the remaining employees simply sought to opt in to the pending class action. The employees had lost their jobs at Martin between 1992 and 1993. Following termination, most of the former employees filed timely age-discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). At various times thereafter, the employees received notice from the EEOC that their charges were dismissed, and that under the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), the employees had 90 days to file a civil action for age discrimination in court. However, that 90-day limitation period tolled when the employees became putative class members in the pending class action. The district court found that the employees were not similarly situated to the other class members and certified a class that did not include the employees. The court then dismissed the named employees’ claims and denied the requests of the remaining employees to opt in to the pending class action. More than 90 days after the district court’s partial denial of class certification, the employees again filed suit, this time asserting their individual claims. Martin sought and was granted summary judgment against all the employees’ claims on the grounds that the employees had failed to file their individual claims within dismissal of their class-action attempts. The employees appealed and argued that the limitations period should have remained tolled after the partial dismissal of their class action because that order was interlocutory and could be reversed at any time before final judgment in that case, or by the court of appeals after final judgment. The employees also argued that the interlocutory decision was unappealable under the final-judgment rule in 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tjoflat, J.)

Dissent (Hatchett, C.J.)

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