Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc, No. 82-1684

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtREHNQUIST
Citation78 L.Ed.2d 567,104 S.Ct. 769,464 U.S. 408
Decision Date17 January 1984
Docket NumberNo. 82-1684
PartiesRaymond J. DONOVAN, Secretary of Labor, et al., Appellants v. LONE STEER, INC

464 U.S. 408
104 S.Ct. 769
78 L.Ed.2d 567
Raymond J. DONOVAN, Secretary of Labor, et al., Appellants

v.

LONE STEER, INC.

No. 82-1684.
Argued Nov. 29, 1983.
Decided Jan. 17, 1984.
Syllabus

The Secretary of Labor (Secretary) is authorized by § 11(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to investigate and gather data regarding wages, hours, and other conditions of employment to determine whether an employer is violating the Act, and by § 9 to subpoena witnesses and documentary evidence relating to any matter under investigation. Pursuant to these provisions, a Department of Labor official, upon entering appellee motel and restaurant, served an administrative subpoena duces tecum on one of appellee's employees, directing the employee to appear at the area Wage and Hour Office with certain payroll and sales records. Appellee refused to comply with the subpoena and sought declaratory and injunctive relief in Federal District Court, claiming that the subpoena constituted an unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The District Court held that, although the Secretary had complied with the applicable FLSA provisions in issuing the subpoena, enforcement of the subpoena would violate the Fourth Amendment because the Secretary had not previously obtained a judicial warrant.

Held: The subpoena duces tecum did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Oklahoma Press Publishing Co. v. Walling, 327 U.S. 186, 66 S.Ct. 494, 90 L.Ed. 614, controlling. An entry into the public lobby of a motel and restaurant for the purpose of serving an administrative subpoena is not the sort of governmental act that is forbidden by that Amendment. Here, the subpoena itself did not authorize either entry or inspection of appellee's premises but merely directed appellee to produce certain wage and hour records, and no nonconsensual entry into areas not open to the public was made. Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 98 S.Ct. 1816, 56 L.Ed.2d 305, and Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727, 18 L.Ed.2d 930, distinguished. While a subpoenaed employer, in an action in federal district court, may question the reasonableness of a subpoena before suffering any penalties for refusing to comply with it, the available defenses do not include the right to insist upon a judicial warrant as a condition precedent to a valid subpoena. Pp. 413-416.

Reversed.

Page 409

Alan I. Horowitz, Washington, D.C., for appellants.

Richard G. Peterson, Denver, Colo., for appellee.

Justice REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court.

Section 11(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA or Act), 29 U.S.C. § 211(a), authorizes the Secretary of Labor to investigate and gather data regarding wages, hours, and other conditions of employment to determine whether an employer is violating the Act.1 §

Page 410

9 of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 209, empowers the Secretary of Labor to subpoena witnesses and documentary evidence relating to any matter under investigation.2 Pursuant to those provisions, an official of the Department of Labor served an administrative subpoena duces tecum on an employee of appellee Lone Steer, Inc., a motel and restaurant located in Steele, North Dakota. The subpoena directed an officer or agent of appellee with personal knowledge of appellee's records to appear at the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor in Bismarck, North Dakota, and

Page 411

to produce certain payroll and sales records. In an action filed by appellee to challenge the validity of the subpoena, the District Court for the District of North Dakota, 565 F.Supp. 229, held that, although the Secretary of Labor had complied with the applicable provisions of the FLSA in issuing the subpoena, enforcement of the subpoena would violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution because the Secretary had not previously obtained a judicial warrant. We noted probable jurisdiction of the Secretary's appeal, --- U.S. ----, 103 S.Ct. 2451, 77 L.Ed.2d 1331 (1983), and we now reverse the judgment of the District Court.

On January 6, 1982, Al Godes, a Compliance Officer with the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, telephoned Susann White, appellee's manager, to inform her that he intended to begin an investigation of appellee the following morning and to request that she have available for inspection payroll records for all employees for the past two years. White telephoned Godes later that day to inform him that it would not be convenient to conduct the inspection on the following morning. After some preliminary skirmishing between the parties, during which appellee inquired about the scope and reason for the proposed investigation and appellants declined to provide specific information, Godes and Gerald Hill, Assistant Area Director from the Wage and Hour Division in Denver, arrived at appellee's premises on February 2, 1982, for the purpose of conducting the investigation. After waiting for White, Godes served the administrative subpoena at issue here on one of appellee's other employees. The subpoena was directed to any employee of appellee having custody and personal knowledge of the records specifically described therein, records which appellee was required by law to maintain. See 29 CFR §§ 516.2(a), 516.5(c) (1983). The subpoena directed the employee to appear with those records at the Wage and Hour Office of the Department of Labor in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Page 412

Appellee refused to comply with the subpoena and sought declaratory and injunctive relief in the District Court, claiming that the subpoena constituted an unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Appellants counterclaimed for enforcement of the subpoena. The District Court concluded that the actions of appellants in issuing the administrative subpoena "unquestionably comport with the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq." Juris. Statement 6a. Relying on our decision in Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 98 S.Ct. 1816, 56 L.Ed.2d 305 (1978), however, the District Court held that the applicable provisions of the FLSA violate the Fourth Amendment insofar as they authorize the Secretary of Labor to issue an administrative subpoena without previously having obtained a judicial warrant. In Barlow's this Court declared unconstitutional the provisions of...

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84 practice notes
  • Copar Pumice Company, Inc. v. Morris, No. CIV 07-0079 JB/ACT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • March 29, 2008
    ...(Seattle Fire Code); Lone Steer, Inc. v. Donovan, 565 F.Supp. 229, 232 (D.N.D.1982)(Fair Labor Standards Act), rev'd on other grounds, 464 U.S. 408, 104 S.Ct. 769, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984); Western Alfalfa Corp. v. Air Pollution Variance Bd., 510 P.2d 907, 909-10 (Colo.Ct.App.1973)(Colorado Ai......
  • State v. Williams, AC 32975
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 24, 2013
    ...Conn. App. 244; which is a question of law. 39. The are other exceptions to a warrant requirement. See, e.g., Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S. Ct. 769, 78 L. Ed. 2d 567 (1984) (defenses to valid administrative subpoena do not include warrant as condition precedent); Se......
  • State v. Williams, No. 32975.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 24, 2013
    ...20 A.3d 52; which is a question of law. 39. The are other exceptions to a warrant requirement. See, e.g., Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S.Ct. 769, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984) (defenses to valid administrative subpoena do not include warrant as condition precedent); See v. Se......
  • BRIXEN & CHRISTOPHER ARCH. v. State, No. 20000318-CA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • June 28, 2001
    ...in an action in district court.'" In re Criminal Investigation, 754 P.2d 633, 642 (Utah 1988) (quoting Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S.Ct. 769, 773, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984)). Here, the CID Statute satisfies this fourth amendment concern. See Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-917(7)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
84 cases
  • Copar Pumice Company, Inc. v. Morris, No. CIV 07-0079 JB/ACT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • March 29, 2008
    ...(Seattle Fire Code); Lone Steer, Inc. v. Donovan, 565 F.Supp. 229, 232 (D.N.D.1982)(Fair Labor Standards Act), rev'd on other grounds, 464 U.S. 408, 104 S.Ct. 769, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984); Western Alfalfa Corp. v. Air Pollution Variance Bd., 510 P.2d 907, 909-10 (Colo.Ct.App.1973)(Colorado Ai......
  • State v. Williams, AC 32975
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 24, 2013
    ...Conn. App. 244; which is a question of law. 39. The are other exceptions to a warrant requirement. See, e.g., Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S. Ct. 769, 78 L. Ed. 2d 567 (1984) (defenses to valid administrative subpoena do not include warrant as condition precedent); Se......
  • State v. Williams, No. 32975.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • September 24, 2013
    ...20 A.3d 52; which is a question of law. 39. The are other exceptions to a warrant requirement. See, e.g., Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S.Ct. 769, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984) (defenses to valid administrative subpoena do not include warrant as condition precedent); See v. Se......
  • BRIXEN & CHRISTOPHER ARCH. v. State, No. 20000318-CA.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • June 28, 2001
    ...in an action in district court.'" In re Criminal Investigation, 754 P.2d 633, 642 (Utah 1988) (quoting Donovan v. Lone Steer, Inc., 464 U.S. 408, 415, 104 S.Ct. 769, 773, 78 L.Ed.2d 567 (1984)). Here, the CID Statute satisfies this fourth amendment concern. See Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-917(7)......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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