Search This Blog

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More District Court Reaction to Dukes

Last week I noted Spellman v. American Eagle Express, No. 10-1764 (E.D. Pa. July 21, 2011), in which the district court declined to reconsider its order granting conditional certification in light of Walmart v. Dukes. I have learned of three similar orders in other cases:

Jasper v. C.R. England, Inc., No. 08-05266 (C.D. Cal. June 30, 2011), in which the court denied an application to vacate an order certifying a Rule 23 class action alleging violation of California wage law on behalf of a class of truck drivers deemed independent contractors.

Butcher v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 09-11681 (D. Mass. July 22, 2011), in which the court denied a motion for reconsideration following Dukes:
Dukes does not involve the FLSA, and its holding does not apply to conditional certification. It is well settled that Rule 23 is more stringent than § 216(b) generally, see Lewis v. Wells Fargo Co., 669 F. Supp. 2d, 1124, 1127 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (The requisite showing of similarity of claims under the FLSA is considerably less stringent than the requisite showing under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, quoting Wertheim v. Arizona, 1993 WL 603552, at *1 (D. Ariz. 1993)), and especially so at the conditional certification stage.
And Ramos v. SimplexGrinnell LP, No. 07-CV-981 (E.D. NY June 21, 2011), in which the court granted a Rule 23(b)(3) motion for class certification in an action for unpaid prevailing wages under New York law.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. _, 2011 WL 2437013 (2011), issued earlier this week, does not command a different result. In Wal-Mart, the Court considered whether plaintiffs had bridged the “conceptual gap” between an individual’s claim of injury and the existence of a class of persons who have suffered the same injury. 2011 WL 2437013, at *8. The Court held that the gap could be bridged with “significant proof that [defendant] operated under a general policy of discrimination.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court found that such proof was “entirely absent” and emphasized that plaintiffs did not allege “any express corporate policy” of discrimination, id. at *4, and that the challenged pay and promotion decisions were “generally committed to local managers’ broad discretion, which [was] exercised in a largely subjective manner.” Id. at *3. The relevant facts and circumstances in Wal-Mart have little bearing here. As indicated above, plaintiffs have come forward with significant proof that defendant routinely failed to account for labor performed on public works projects and pay prevailing wages for covered work. Moreover, there is little discretion or subjective judgment in determining an employee’s right to be paid prevailing wages; the right arises automatically, by operation of law, provided the nature of the construction project and the type of labor performed fall within the scope of New York Labor Law § 220. In addition, whereas in Wal-Mart defendant had an “announced policy” prohibiting discrimination, id. at *8, defendant here has not come forward with evidence of an expressed uniform policy that ensured the payment of prevailing wages to its employees when due. Finally, although the efforts of the Wal-Mart plaintiffs to prove their case with statistical evidence failed, plaintiffs here have come forward with class-wide proof culled from defendant’s electronic data that, as discussed in greater detail below, is sufficiently reliable to be presented at trial.
Slip op. at 9-10.

On the other hand, there is Cruz v Dollar Tree Stores Inc., Nos. 07-2050 SC, 07-4012 SC (N.D. Cal. July 7, 2011), in which the court decertified a class of store managers because plaintiffs' plan to rely at trial on "representative testimony from a handful of class members" became untenable following Marlo v. United Parcel Service, Inc. ("Marlo II") --- F.3d --- (9th Cir. 4/28/11) and Dukes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.