Experienced in federal and state trial and appellate courts, Kelly Utsinger’s practice is concentrated on employment, insurance, nonsubscriber, trucking and catastrophic injury litigation. After receiving his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law, he worked as a briefing attorney for the 7th Court of Appeals. He has maintained an appellate practice with over 30 reported cases and has also prosecuted and defended commercial litigants and multi-million dollar first party insurance disputes. Kelly has been counsel in multiple Fair Labor Standards Act collective actions and defended over 100 nonsubscriber law suits.
Having committed his career to litigation, Kelly is a member of two national, invitation-only trial lawyer organizations. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, widely recognized as the premier trial organization in North America. Membership in the ACTL is limited to trial lawyers with at least 15 years of experience who are exceptional advocates and whose careers demonstrate the highest standards of ethics. He is also an Associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, an organization limited to lawyers who have demonstrated skill, civility and professionalism at a high level of trial advocacy and who are committed to preserving and promoting the right to trial by jury.
November 23, 2016
New Overtime Rule 12/1/16 Deadline Suspended
On November 22, 2016, a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Texas temporarily enjoined the enforcement of the Department of Labor’s “Final Rule” that would have drastically increased the salary threshold for certain exempt workers. The DOL’s Rule, scheduled to become effective on December 1, 2016, doubled the minimum salary requirement for employees performing executive, professional, or administrative duties to be exempt from overtime pay (a change from $23,660 annually to $47,476 with annual automatic increases). The injunction temporarily suspends the Final Rule across the entire nation.
Several contingencies render the future of these salary changes unpredictable. First, this lawsuit and injunction will most likely remain pending beyond Inauguration Day, but the new President and his Labor Secretary may withdraw the Final Rule or propose a more modest increase in the salary threshold. Second, a proposed law, the “Regulatory Relief for Small Business, Schools and Nonprofits Act,” which delays enforcement of the Final Rule until June 1, 2017, has already passed the House and has gone to the Senate. Third, the lawsuit could continue through the trial court and end up in the U.S. Supreme Court—which may not yet have a full contingent of Justices. Another, more practical, consideration: the Final Rule prompted some employers to conduct audits. Changes in compensation, duties, and time keeping may have already been adopted that make sense to keep in place. Employers are always free to pay wages above the minimum set by any Administration. How further changes in compensation may affect employee morale and impact the financial circumstances of both the employer and employee may be the most sensitive issues for employers to consider.