SCOTUS Review: Tyson v. Bouaphakeo
Created on September 19, 2016
The Supreme Court’s taking of Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo this term presented much-awaited questions as to the scope and permissibility of class actions in federal courts. Particularly watched were how the Court would address the propriety of statistical sampling in class actions to establish liability or damages and whether a class action can be certified when some class members may not have been damaged. To many, the case was considered the natural follow-on to the Supreme Court’s Comcast and Dukes decisions that had limited the scope of overbroad cases and demanded stricter ties between liability and damages.
The Tyson Foods decision itself was striking and has important ramifications for both the defense and prosecution of class – and also Fair Labor Standards Act collective – actions. The majority affirmed the use of statistical evidence to prove liability and damages, but in doing so placed substantial weight on the evidentiary soundness of such evidence. But the decision left open many future questions, including the issue of undamaged class members, and it left open the possible return of the case to the Supreme Court itself. To practitioners, the decision creates new challenges both in prosecuting and defending any kind of aggregate action. It also has specific teachings for Fair Labor Standards Act cases.
- Examine the nature of the case within the context of Comcast and Dukes
- Understand the decision and what questions remain, especially the implications of the decision for class and collective actions
- Obtain tips and suggestions as to Tyson Food’s practical implications for litigating cases from both plaintiffs’ and defense perspectives
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