In an important case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justices will hear whether “trial by formula” should be permitted in class actions and collective actions. Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, involves the following 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.
2. Whether a class action may be certified or maintained, or a collective action certified or maintained under the FLSA, when the class contains hundreds of members who were not injured and have no legal right to any damages.
Baker Hostetler filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Cato Institute, arguing, among other things, that “[a] formula cannot substitute for individualized evidence of liability, injury, or damages….” Read Cato’s Brief. Read my colleague, Andrew Grossman’s, blog post about the case here.