Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Supreme Court denies cert in Long John Silvers case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused (PDF) Long John Silver's petition to review a ruling by the Fourth Circuit that its former managers could proceed with a Rule 23-style opt-out class arbitration of their Fair Labor Standards Act claims.

The Fourth Circuit's ruling rejected LJS's argument that the FLSA's opt-in requirement (29 U.S.C. § 216(b)) is nonwaivable. In a 3-0 decision, the Fourth Circuit held that "[b]ecause there is a debatable contention that the FLSA's § 16(b) provision did not explicitly overrule the 'opt-out' feature of the arbitration agreement, the arbitrator did not ignore the FLSA or any other applicable legal principles when he certified an 'opt-out' class."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Class certification denied in C-8 case

I learned from Steve Minor's SW Virginia Law Blog that Judge Goodwin has denied class certification in the C-8 water contamination case against DuPont. The first paragraph of the 32-page Memorandum Opinion and Order reads:
Pending before the court is the plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification [Docket 188]. The plaintiffs seek certification of a class of people allegedly harmed by C-8 contamination of their drinking water supply. The plaintiffs have presented compelling evidence that exposure to C-8 may be harmful to human health, and the evidence certainly justifies the concerns expressed by the plaintiffs in this case. What the plaintiffs misunderstand, however, is what they must show in order for me to certify the class. I cannot certify a class based on some potential harm to the general public, rather, there must be specific injuries to each member of the proposed class. The fact that a public health risk may exist is more than enough to raise concern in the community and call government agencies to action, but it does not show the common individual injuries needed to certify a class action. For the reasons set forth below, this court FINDS that the proposed class does not satisfy Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The motion is DENIED.