On June 25, 1985, domestic farmworkers brought a nationwide class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring agricultural employers who hired temporary alien workers under the "H-2" program to provide free housing for U.S. ...
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On June 25, 1985, domestic farmworkers brought a nationwide class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland seeking declaratory and injunctive relief requiring agricultural employers who hired temporary alien workers under the "H-2" program to provide free housing for U.S. workers. Plaintiffs maintained that the Department of Labor's interpretation of regulation 20 C.F.R. § 655.202(b)(1) as not requiring free employer-provided housing for domestic workers, was directly contrary to the regulation's plain language.
The Department of Labor denied the allegations and sought dismissal of the case. The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association and the United States Sugar Corporation intervened in support of the defendant. By an order dated June 18, 1986, the Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss, ruling that it could not determine the issue presented until the parties developed the facts of the case.
Plaintiffs moved for class certification, and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The District Court (Chief Judge Alexander Harvey, II) certified the case as a nationwide class action, but entered judgment for defendants and intervening defendants. Phillips v. Brock, 652 F.Supp. 1372 (D.Md.1987). Plaintiffs appealed.
While the case was on appeal, the Department of Labor published an interim final rule, C.F.R. § 655.102(b)(1) (1988), that created a new "H-2A" program. The new rule contained a provision which required employers in the program to provide housing to domestic workers "who are not reasonably able to return to their residence within the same working day."
The Court of Appeals (Chief Judge Harrison L. Winter) held in light of the new interim final rule, the plaintiffs' claims were moot. The District Court judgment was vacated and remanded with instructions to enter an order dismissing this action as moot. Phillips v. McLaughlin, 854 F.2d 673 (4th Cir. 1988).Dan Dalton - 11/19/2007