TYSON FOODS V. BOUAPHAKEO
Issue: Class Action Certification Standards
Court: U.S. Supreme Court
Term: October 2015
Oral Argument: November 10, 2015
Opinion: Justice Kennedy
Lower Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
I. Whether differences among individual class members may be ignored and a class action certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified under the Fair Labor Standards Act, where liability and damages will be determined with statistical techniques that presume all class members are identical to the average observed in a sample; and
II. Whether a class action may be certified or maintained under Rule 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified or maintained under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when the class contains hundreds of members who were not injured and have no legal right to any damages.
The RLC joined an amici brief in support of the employer’s petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court and on the merits. The brief urges the Court to take this opportunity to enforce its precedents set forth in Dukes and Comcast as to the requirements for class certification, which are safeguards to preventing abusive class action litigation and the certification of improper classes.
The Court affirmed the decision below and held that the use of statistical sampling is permitted to prove liability and to certify a class under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Court did not reach question two.
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