How can you have a "class" when individuals' facts are so different? Hourly workers at Tyson's pork processing plant filed a class action claiming unpaid overtime for time spent donning and doffing personal protective equipment. The trial court certified a class, and a jury brought back a verdict for $2,892,378.70. Liquidated damages raised the judgment to $5,785,757.40. The 8th Circuit affirmed in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo (8th Cir 08/25/2014).
The US Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the 8th Circuit's judgment. Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo (Certiorari granted 06/08/2015).
I expect a reversal because individuals' amounts of overtime varied greatly, the trial court used an "average" based on a sample and applied it to all class members, and hundreds of class members worked no overtime at all.
The certiorari petition raises these two questions:
(1) 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
(2) 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.