Before class action lawsuits can proceed, they must be certified as such by the court. In order for this to occur, the individuals bringing the suit must present evidence that “questions of law or fact common to the class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members,” as required under 23(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A February ruling from the Second Court of Appeals significantly expands the parameters of this requirement.
- According to the plaintiffs, the defendant refused them “spread of hours” pay, compensation required under the labor laws of New York for non-exempt employees working in excess of 10 hours per day.
- The Federal District Court in New York found certification improper, based on the assertion that each class member would have to present separate proof regarding how many hours they worked for the determination of appropriate damages.
- But, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this decision. Relying on the Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, the court held that the plaintiffs were only required to present a model of damage calculations. The fact that some members of the class may not fall perfectly within that model is not sufficient to deny certification.
The result is an easier burden for plaintiffs’ attorneys when trying to secure the certification of a class action suit.
If you have questions about this court decision, contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.