Skidmore v. Swift Co, No. 12

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJACKSON
Citation65 S.Ct. 161,323 U.S. 134,89 L.Ed. 124
PartiesSKIDMORE et al. v. SWIFT & CO
Decision Date04 December 1944
Docket NumberNo. 12

323 U.S. 134
65 S.Ct. 161
89 L.Ed. 124
SKIDMORE et al.

v.

SWIFT & CO.

No. 12.
Argued Oct. 13, 1944.
Decided Dec. 4, 1944.

Page 135

Mr. Curtis McBroom, of Fort Worth, Tex., for petitioners.

Mr. Beverly V. Thompson, of Fort Worth, Tex., for respondent.

Mr. Justice JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.

Seven employees of the Swift and Company packing plant at Fort Worth, Texas, brought an action under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 201 et seq., to recover overtime, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees, totalling approximately $77,000. The District Court rendered judgment denying this claim wholly, and the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. 136 F.2d 112.

It is not denied that the daytime employment of these persons was working time within the Act. Two were engaged in general fire hall duties and maintenance of fire-fighting equipment of the Swift plant. The others operated elevators or acted as relief men in fire duties. They worked from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a half-hour lunch period, five days a week. They were paid weekly salaries.

Under their oral agreement of employment, however, petitioners undertook to stay in the fire hall on the Company premises, or within hailing distance, three and a half to four nights a week. This involved no task except to answer alarms, either because of fire or because the sprinkler was set off for some other reason. No fires occurred during the period in issue, the alarms were rare, and the time required for their answer rarely exceeded an hour. For each alarm answered the employees were

Page 136

paid in addition to their fixed compensation an agreed amount, fifty cents at first, and later sixty-four cents. The Company provided a brick fire hall equipped with steam heat and air-conditioned rooms. It provided sleeping quarters, a pool table, a domino table, and a radio. The men used their time in sleep or amusement as they saw fit, except that they were required to stay in or close by the fire hall and be ready to respond to alarms. It is stipulated that 'they agreed to remain in the fire hall and stay in it or within hailing distance, subject to call, in event of fire or other casualty, but were not required to perform any specific tasks during these periods of time, except in answering alarms.' The trial court found the evidentiary facts as stipulated; it made no findings of fact as such as to whether under the arrangement of the parties and the circumstances of this case, which in some respects differ from those of the Armour case (Armour & Co. v. Wantock et al., 323 U.S. 126, 65 S.Ct. 165), the fire hall duty or any part thereof constituted working time. It said, however, as a 'conclusion of law' that 'the time plaintiffs spent in the fire hall subject to call to answer fire alarms does not constitute hours worked, for which overtime compensation is due them under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as interpreted by the Administrator and the Courts,' and in its opinion (53 F.Supp. 1020, 1021) observed, 'of course we know pursuing such pleasurable occupations or performing such personal chores does not constitute work.' The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

For reasons set forth in the Armour case, 323 U.S. 126, 65 S.Ct. 165, decided herewith we hold that no principle of law found either in the statute or in Court decisions precludes waiting time from also being working time. We have not attempted to, and we cannot, lay down a legal formula to resolve cases so varied in their facts as are the many situations in which employment involves waiting time. Whether in a concrete case such time falls within or without the Act is a question of fact to be resolved by appropriate findings of the trial

Page 137

court. Walling v. Jacksonville Paper Co., 317 U.S. 564, 572, 63 S.Ct. 332, 87 L.Ed. 460. This involves scrutiny and construction of the agreements between the particular parties, appraisal of their practical construction of the working agreement by conduct, consideration of the nature of the service, and its relation to the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4016 practice notes
  • New Mexico Health Connections v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., No. CIV 16-0878 JB\JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • October 19, 2018
    ...as "a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance," Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140 (1944). See Moda, 892 F.3d at 1326 (considering the GAO report and concluding that "GAO's opinion was correct"). The Federal Circuit's d......
  • Burke v. Mesta Mach. Co., Civil Action No. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • July 27, 1948
    ...rulings referred to is the reference, in the report of the House Judiciary Committee, to the case of Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124.79 F. Supp. 611 In the Skidmore case, the Supreme Court described at some length the pattern of administrative interpretatio......
  • Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Nos. 00–cv–2329 (RCL), 01–cv–2104 (RCL).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • August 31, 2012
    ...” Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., –––U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2156, 2169, 183 L.Ed.2d 153 (2012) (quoting Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124 (1944)). The Government notes that “any judicial application of TRIA has important consequences for the Execu......
  • Ambase Corp. v. United States, Docket No. 12–3563–cv.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • September 9, 2013
    ...WL 3779354, at *9 (citing United States v. Mead, 533 U.S. 218, 234–35, 121 S.Ct. 2164, 150 L.Ed.2d 292 (2001); Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 139–40, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124 (1944)). General Counsel Memoranda “are informal documents written by the I.R.S. Chief Counsel's office.” ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3992 cases
  • New Mexico Health Connections v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., No. CIV 16-0878 JB\JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • October 19, 2018
    ...as "a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance," Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140 (1944). See Moda, 892 F.3d at 1326 (considering the GAO report and concluding that "GAO's opinion was correct"). The Federal Circuit's d......
  • Burke v. Mesta Mach. Co., Civil Action No. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • July 27, 1948
    ...rulings referred to is the reference, in the report of the House Judiciary Committee, to the case of Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124.79 F. Supp. 611 In the Skidmore case, the Supreme Court described at some length the pattern of administrative interpretatio......
  • Estate of Heiser v. Islamic Republic of Iran, Nos. 00–cv–2329 (RCL), 01–cv–2104 (RCL).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • August 31, 2012
    ...” Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., –––U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2156, 2169, 183 L.Ed.2d 153 (2012) (quoting Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124 (1944)). The Government notes that “any judicial application of TRIA has important consequences for the Execu......
  • Ambase Corp. v. United States, Docket No. 12–3563–cv.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • September 9, 2013
    ...WL 3779354, at *9 (citing United States v. Mead, 533 U.S. 218, 234–35, 121 S.Ct. 2164, 150 L.Ed.2d 292 (2001); Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 139–40, 65 S.Ct. 161, 89 L.Ed. 124 (1944)). General Counsel Memoranda “are informal documents written by the I.R.S. Chief Counsel's office.” ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 books & journal articles
  • Judging the Fed.
    • United States
    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 2, November 2021
    • November 1, 2021
    ...certain factors may give administrative constructions the "power to persuade," if not the "power to control." Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134, 140 (119.) Bd. of Governors of the Fed. Rsrv. Sys. v. First Lincolnwood Corp., 439 U.S. 234 (1978). This was not technically the first cas......
  • Agency Deference After Kisor v. Wilkie
    • United States
    • The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy Nbr. 18-1, January 2020
    • January 1, 2020
    ...to the judgment of those whose special duty is to administer the questioned statute.”). 28. 325 U.S. 410 (1945). 29. Id. at 411–13. 30. 323 U.S. 134 (1944). 31. The issue in Skidmore was whether employees were entitled to overtime pay for the hours they spent in a state of readiness in case......
  • The Final Auer: How Weakening the Deference Doctrine May Impact Environmental Law
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 45-10, October 2015
    • October 1, 2015
    ..., http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/EPAactivities/ regulatory-initiatives.html (last visited Mar. 25, 2015). 3. Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944). 4. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 14 ELR 20507 (1984). 5. 5 U.S.C. §§500-559. 6. 325 U.S. 410 ......
  • The D.C. Circuit Takes a Wrong Turn: Redefining Solid Waste Under RCRA
    • United States
    • Environmental Law Reporter Nbr. 49-6, June 2019
    • June 1, 2019
    ..., 880 F.2d at 441. See also Chevron , 467 U.S. at 844. 197. 533 U.S. 218 (2001). 198. Id . at 226-27. See also Skidmore v. Swift & Co., 323 U.S. 134 (1944). 199. Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §706(2)(A). 200. Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of the United States, Inc. v. State Farm Mut. A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT