Celebrating 75 Years of Serving Nevada’s Legal, Business, Government, and Civic Communities

Shepherds’ H-2A Visa Minimum Wage Claims Nixed in Nevada

A Nevada federal judge has tossed a case in which a putative class of shepherds working on H-2A visas alleged that several ranches undercut them on minimum wage pay, concluding that his court does not have jurisdiction to hear the claims.

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones determined that the shepherds’ claims all fall under Nevada state law, that none of the named plaintiffs were able to establish that claims against any of the individual ranches might amount to at least $5 million and that a state court should review a dispute over the actual terms of the work contracts involved, according to his order, which allows the plaintiffs to amend their complaint.

The shepherds allege that under Nevada employment regulations, the ranches failed to pay them minimum wage, were unjustly enriched and breached their contracts, among other claims, according to the April 13 order.

As justification for hearing the case in the District of Nevada rather than in state court, the shepherds had argued that H-2A visa regulations were not adhered to and that dozens of putative class members were underpaid by a cumulative total of at least $10 million, according to court documents.

But Judge Jones determined that statutes of limitations and a Class Action Fairness Act regulation that bars two or more defendants from aggregating their alleged damages from various defendants — rather than from one defendant — kept the shepherds from reaching the minimum $5 million threshold that would give his court jurisdiction, according to the order.

The judge also determined that even if the shepherds’ contracts omitted language that would outline how pay under the H-2A visa program should be properly allocated, the matter is insufficient to trigger his court’s jurisdiction, as it is established that the federal regulations would govern how much pay the workers would receive.

Click here to read entire article https://www.law360.com/articles/914623/shepherds-h-2a-visa-minimum-wage-claims-nixed-in-nevada

By Kevin Penton

Law360, New York (April 18, 2017, 8:18 PM EDT)

About McDonald Carano

In 2024, McDonald Carano celebrates 75 years of serving Nevada’s legal, business, government, and civic communities. More than 60 lawyers and government relations professionals serve state, national, and international clients from our offices in Reno, Las Vegas, and Carson City. McDonald Carano provides legal services and government affairs and advocacy counsel to startups, corporations, trade associations, nonprofits, public entities, high-net-worth individuals, investors, and public-private partnerships throughout Nevada. We are proud to be your Nevada law firm since 1949.

Media Contact

Mark Buckovich


You have chosen to send an email to McDonald Carano. The sending or receipt of this email and the information in it does not in itself create an attorney-client relationship. If you are not already a client, you should not provide us with information that you wish to have treated as privileged or confidential without first speaking to one of our lawyers. If you provide information before we confirm that you are a client and that we are willing and able to represent you, we may not be required to treat that information as privileged, confidential, or protected information, and we may be able to represent a party adverse to you.

I have read this and want to send an email.