Archives: Class Actions

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Building Upon Dukes, Supreme Court Imposes Further Limitations on Certification of Rule 23 Class Actions

While this blog’s focus generally is on the substantive provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-and-hour laws, due to the prevalence of class action litigation, it is sometimes necessary to address procedural issues of importance to wage and hour litigation, such as arbitration agreements. Another important procedural facet of many wage-and-hour litigations is … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Rejects D.R. Horton and Other Arguments, Upholds Class/Collective Action Waiver Contained in Arbitration Agreement

The issue of the enforceability of an employee’s agreement to arbitrate disputes with his or her employer on solely an individual basis and related waiver of the right to proceed in a representative capacity (i.e., class or collective action basis) continues to wend its way through to the higher courts. Ultimately, this issue likely will need … Continue Reading

Supreme Court To Decide Whether Offer of Judgment Moots Collective Action

Employers who find themselves confronted with a putative collective action lawsuit under the FLSA typically take immediate steps to limit exposure, both within and outside the litigation. One procedural tool employers seek to avail themselves of is the Offer of Judgment, authorized by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. Using this mechanism, an employer seeks to offer … Continue Reading

Jackson Lewis Team Defeats Conditional Certification In Store Manager Litigation

Recently, we discussed the standard applicable to collective action certification of FLSA claims at the so-called “second stage”, which occurs after factual discovery. This is a more stringent standard than that applied to cases at the initial “conditional certification” stage, where courts apply a standard that varies from circuit to circuit, but is typically lenient. However, in … Continue Reading

Federal Court Decertifies Collective Action Alleging Funeral Home Did Not Pay For All Hours Worked

While this space frequently discusses decisions adjudicating the merits of FLSA plaintiffs’ “off-the-clock” claims, allegations that employees were not compensated for all hours worked, FLSA collective action litigation often does not reach this merits stage of the proceeding. Frequently, courts first review plaintiffs’ claims in the context of determining whether FLSA plaintiffs are “similarly situated” – … Continue Reading

Connecticut District Court Upholds Collective Actions Waivers, Orders Individual Arbitrations

While courts continue to issue varied rulings regarding the appropriateness of collective action certification in FLSA litigations, employers continue to attempt to limit exposure to such broad allegations through several mechanisms. One of these strategies is inclusion of class/collective waiver provisions in arbitration, employment or separation agreements. Such provisions bar initiation and participation in class or collective … Continue Reading

In Affirming Decision to Deny Class Certification, Second Circuit Clarifies Standard Applicable to Motion for Conditional Certification Under the FLSA

FLSA lawsuits seeking unpaid minimum or overtime wages typically are brought as “collective actions,” pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). State law claims typically are brought – often in the same lawsuit – as class actions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Despite the large number of wage and hour class and collective actions brought in … Continue Reading

Federal Court Upholds Collective Action Waiver in Arbitration Agreement

As the surge of wage and hour collective actions continues, one strategy utilized by employers to avoid such multi-plaintiff litigations is the use of arbitration agreements with class/collective action waivers.  In essence, such provisions mandate that an employee arbitrate any wage and hour and other (subject to certain limitations) disputes on an individual basis.   Arbitration … Continue Reading

Second Circuit To Consider Whether Plaintiffs Can Simultaneously Pursue FLSA And Pendent State Law Claims in Federal Court

As wage and hour litigation continues to be the majority of litigation in the workplace law arena, many employers are faced with defending federal and state law claims in the same federal court lawsuit.  This poses a practical issue as the FLSA provides for an opt-in class while state laws generally provide for opt-out classes.   … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reinforces Its Shady Grove Ruling Limiting Application Of State Procedural Waiver Requirements In Federal Court Actions

On the heels of its ruling in Shady Grove regarding the inapplicability of state procedural rules in federal court (discussed here), on April 19, 2010, the Supreme Court issued a decision reviving another dismissed class action.  In Holster v. Gatco Inc., Case Number 08-1307, the Court granted the appeal petition of an individual seeking to … Continue Reading

Another New York Federal Court Compels Arbitration of Individual Claims

In the Second Circuit, employees generally can waive their right to bring a class or collective action as long as the cost of arbitrating the case on an individual basis is not cost-prohibitive  and does not “remov[e] the plaintiff’s only reasonably feasible means of recovery.”  See In Re American Express Merchants’ Litigation, 554 F.3d 300 … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Expands Relief Available in New York State Law Class Actions Filed In Federal Court

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to New York wage-and-hour defendants sued in federal court last week, overruling established precedent requiring plaintiffs bringing New York Labor Law (“Labor Law”) class actions in federal court to waive the 25% liquidated damages “penalty” in order to proceed on a class basis.  In Shady Grove Orthopedic Assocs., P.A. … Continue Reading

The Fine Line: What Can You Say To Potential Class Members After The Company Is Sued

 In 1981, the Supreme Court issued general guidance as to what an employer can say to “putative class members” In doing so, the Court explained that the judiciary has the power to control communications See generally Gulf Oil v. Bernard, 452 U.S. 89 (1981) (holding a district court has both the “duty and broad authority to exercise … Continue Reading
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