Parker Drilling Management Services (PDMS) hired this lazy motherfucker named Newton. He took breaks like he was part of a labor union, so they fired his lazy ass.
Being pissed he was fired, he decided to sue PDMS for unfair labor practices. He could have sued while he still worked there, if it bothered him that much, but he didn’t. He was just a lazy fuck trying to get revenge. The nature of his business was that he was on a drilling rig 14 days in a row, working in often 12-hour shifts.
The Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law, has certain labor standards on how many breaks are required and shit. The Socialist Republic of California has their own commie bullshit laws. The drilling rig, while off the coast of California, was still not within California’s borders. So the issue was whether state law or federal law governs what goes on there. Sort of an argument as to whether “off the coast of California” is part of California, or its own unique district.
Newton sued in California, because he was hoping they’d rule in his favor with their commie bullshit laws. But PDMS presumably realized this was a federal case and took it to federal court, whose laws favored them. The federal court determined that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) allows for state laws to intervene on wage issues and such not covered in FLSA. But that it didn’t protect Newton in this instance over his excessive lazy-ass breaks. But the ninth circuit was like, “get fucked federal court” and vacated the judgement. They were arguing that state law should preempt federal law when the state law addresses the issue at hand. As if to say, that state law goes before federal law.
So off to SCOTUS we go.
SCOTUS clearly thought Newton was a lazy fuck, and that as usual, the ninth circuit was probably smoking crack—unanimous decision for PDMS. They basically said that if the Federal Law covers the scenario, that’s the applicable law and Cali’s commie bullshit is irrelevant. But if there is no standard in FLSA for an issue, then and only then can California law be used.