The US Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Tyson Foods employees can use representative evidence to establish liability and damages for class certification purposes. The opinion gives the plaintiffs’ class action bar a second victory in the Court’s current term, albeit a far narrower one than many commentators had feared.
Takeaways include the following (discussed in detail in our post):
- The Court showed little to no inclination to categorically prohibit the use of statistical sampling in class actions. Rather, the test is whether the statistical approach would be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
- Employers need to place far greater emphasis on challenging the evidentiary value of statistical or other representative evidence offered by plaintiffs to support class certification.
- Employers may want to apply additional resources towards timekeeping in order to limit or even avoid liability and damages on wage and hour issues that are close to the line.
- The question of whether a class may include uninjured class members was referred back to the district court. If the jury award as currently constituted remains in place, we expect this controversial issue to make its way back to the Supreme Court.
For details and a full analysis of the Tyson Foods decision, please see our post in the Employment Matters blog.