Thursday, July 23, 2015

Young v. Colvin

In an unpublished memorandum disposition, the Ninth Circuit decided Young v. Colvin on July 21, 2015.  On the last line of the mem-dis, the court writes:

And a hotel housekeeper’s occasional interaction with hotel guests does not amount to more than minimal or superficial contact with the public. See DOT 369.687-018, 1991 WL 673072; DOT 323.687-014, 1991 WL 672783. 

Really?    The DOT does not say that and to make that finding without evidence is shocking.

DOT code 369.687-018 is a folder in the laundry and garment industries.  It is not a hotel housekeeper.

DOT code 323.687-014 is the cleaner, housekeeping occupation.  According to the DOT, the worker must:

Cleans rooms and halls in commercial establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, clubs, beauty parlors, and dormitories, performing any combination of following duties: Sorts, counts, folds, marks, or carries linens. Makes beds. Replenishes supplies, such as drinking glasses and writing supplies. Checks wraps and renders personal assistance to patrons. Moves furniture, hangs drapes, and rolls carpets. Performs other duties as described under CLEANER (any industry) I Master Title. May be designated according to type of establishment cleaned as Beauty Parlor Cleaner (personal ser.); Motel Cleaner (hotel & rest.); or according to area cleaned as Sleeping Room Cleaner (hotel & rest.). 
Personal assistance to patrons -- minimal and superficial, where does the court fathom that concept?  Words have meaning and personal does too.  The dictionary definition:

Full Definition of PERSONAL1
:  of, relating to, or affecting a particular person :  privateindividual <personal ambition><personal financial gain>2
a :  done in person without the intervention of another; also :  proceeding from a single person
b :  carried on between individuals directly <a personal interview>3
:  relating to the person or body4
:  relating to an individual or an individual's character, conduct, motives, or private affairs often in an offensive manner <a personal insult>5
a :  being rational and self-conscious <personal, responsive government is still possible — John Fischer>
b :  having the qualities of a person rather than a thing or abstraction <a personal devil>6
:  of, relating to, or constituting personal property <a personal estate>7
:  denoting grammatical person8
:  intended for private use or use by one person <a personal stereo>

Which of the definitions of personal does the court use in deeming the work of a housekeeping cleaner devoid of more than minimal and superficial?

Sometimes a memorandum disposition is a reaction to bad facts, bad lawyering, or a deep conviction that the claimant will never win.  More often, it is because the case has nothing important to add to a burgeoning load of case law.  Young isn't law of the circuit and a good thing too.  Young is wrong on that last sentence, very wrong.


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