Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner Bill Martucci discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo in a March 22 Law360 article titled "Attorneys React to High Court’s Tyson Class Action Ruling."
In the 6-2 opinion written by Justice Kennedy, the court affirmed a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods in a worker don-doff case and held that it is acceptable to use averages and other statistical analyses as individualized proof to show similarities between disparate class members.
In response to the ruling, Martucci, who leads the firm’s National Employment Litigation & Policy practice expressed, "Simply put, 'representative evidence,' if based on statistical analysis by a qualified expert, will be permitted under the appropriate circumstances in wage and hour class action litigation. What may be more intriguing, however, is the concurring opinion by Chief Justice Roberts. Chief Justice Roberts notes a clear, constitutional issue which focuses on the difficulty of establishing that the jury’s damages award goes only to injured class members. In the absence of a way to establish that point, Chief Justice Roberts states the jury award cannot stand. This issue remains for the district court to resolve in further proceedings on remand."
The article included input from 28 attorneys who shared their thoughts on the ruling and what it means for wage and hour class action litigation moving forward.