DAYTONA BEACH — Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court decision denying Aegis Defense Services LLC’s motion to dismiss a complaint in which a contract employee alleged it failed to pay him overtime for work he did in Afghanistan on behalf of the company.
Florida resident Laurence Gilbert had filed the complaint in the Brevard County Circuit Court, alleging unjust enrichment and failure to pay overtime wages.
Aegis appealed a non-final order denying its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue.
Judge Kerry I. Evander said the appellate court concluded that the “trial court erred in denying Aegis motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and, accordingly, do not address the venue issue.”
Gilbert had alleged that Aegis was subject to Florida jurisdiction under Florida statutes because the company was allegedly “'[o]perating, conducting, engaging in, or carrying on a business or business venture in this state,'” according to the appeals court decision.
Gilbert claimed that the Florida statutes were relevant in this because because all of his paychecks were deposited into his Florida bank account.
“The fact that Aegis chose to remit payments to Gilbert through a Florida bank account does not change our analysis, particularly given that Gilbert did not allege that Aegis was required to make payment in Florida,” Evander said in the decision.
Gilbert also alleged that Aegis solicited and interviewed him through its website, telephone communications and email while he resided in Florida and that Aegis required him to submit to pre-employment screening in Florida.
“However, none of the four causes of action alleged in Gilbert's complaint arose from these activities,” Evander said in the appellate court decision. “Count I challenged the validity of a contract executed by Gilbert in Arkansas. Counts II and III alleged Aegis had an obligation to pay Gilbert additional monies for work he performed in Afghanistan. Count IV simply constituted a challenge to a forum selection provision.”
The decision was reversed and remanded to the lower court with directions.