The Retail Litigation Center (RLC) joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of California asking the Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling in Duran v. U.S. Bank. The amici argue that the lower court’s misuse of statistical sampling to establish class liability violates the due process rights of Duran and future defendants.
In Duran, a wage and hour misclassification case, the trial court refused to allow U.S. Bank to present evidence that nearly a third of the class members lacked valid claims. Instead the court permitted the plaintiffs to show liability against all class members through statistical sampling.
According to the brief:
“Assuming common issues predominate yet a defense to liability raises individual issues, the trial court must manage the individual issues and cannot abrogate the defendant’s right to present its defenses to liability. Clearly, statistical sampling is not an appropriate means of managing these individual issues if the sampling allows liability to be extrapolated in a way that abrogates the defendant’s right to prove it was not liable to at least some of the class members. Such use of statistical sampling allows class action procedure to alter the defendant’s substantive right—and represents the very Trial by Formula Wal-Mart rejected.”
Over the last year, the RLC has focused on the importance of sound class action certification standards, weighing in on several cases that explore this evolving area of law, including Walmart v. Dukes, Comcast v. Behrand, RBS v. Ross, and Standard Fire v. Knowles, which were all decided in accordance with the views expressed by the RLC. Earlier this week the RLC filed a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to grant certiorari in another class certification case, Butler v. Sears.
“For businesses that face frequent class action lawsuits of questionable merit filed to induce financial settlements, class certification is the whole ball game,” said RLC president Deborah White. “A weakening of class certification standards undermines due process guarantees and will surely lead to increased abuse of the class action litigation device.”
The full brief can be found here.
Horvitz & Levy, LLP attorneys Jeremy B. Rosen and Robert H. Wright authored the brief.
The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry. The RLC, whose members include some of the country’s largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases.
SVP, Communications & State Affairs