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Warshauer v. Solis

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
577 F.3d 1330 (2009)


The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) protected the rights of employees and the public by requiring employers to disclose certain payments made to any labor organization or officer. The LMRDA authorized the Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (Secretary) (defendant) to issue rules and regulations detailing the reports required to be filed. In 1963, the Department of Labor promulgated regulations requiring employers to file Form LM-10 to report certain financial transactions. The instructions for Form LM-10 included a de minimis exemption, which exempted employers from disclosing gifts of insubstantial value. Historically, the Secretary determined whether a gift was of insubstantial value on a case-by-case basis. In 2005, the Secretary issued website advisories identifying designated legal counsel (DLCs) within the definition of “employer” for reporting purposes. DLCs were attorneys who were recommended by labor unions to their members for personal injury lawsuits. The advisories also announced the de minimis rule applied to any transactions of $250 or less. The Department of Labor sent a letter to Michael Warshauer (plaintiff), a DLC, requiring Warshauer to file Form LM-10. Warshauer challenged the interpretations found in the website advisories, arguing the Secretary failed to engage in notice and comment rulemaking before implementation. The district court found that the interpretations did not trigger notice and comment rulemaking. Warshauer appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wilson, J.)

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