By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to weigh a dispute over whether mortgage loan officers are exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay regulations.
The two related cases concern a decision in 2010 by the U.S. Labor Department, which reversed a 2004 finding made during the administration of President George W. Bush that had concluded mortgage loan officers were exempt from the regulations.
The Mortgage Bankers Association challenged the more recent finding in court, leading to the current litigation over whether the government followed the correct process in changing course.
The association believes the government was required to conduct a formal rule making process, which would have allowed interested parties to submit comments. The government said it did not because it was merely offering a new interpretation of an existing regulation.
A district court judge ruled in favor of the government but, in a July 2013 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out the new interpretation, saying a formal rule making process was required.
Oral arguments and a decision are expected in the court's next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2015.
The two related cases are Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association and Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1041 and No. 13-1052.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Grant McCool)