Tag Archives Supreme Court

When we first discussed Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles, No. 11-1450, 568 U.S. -- (Mar. 19, 2013), we noted that a ruling in favor of Defendants could mean an end to the traditional rule that a plaintiff is the “Master” of his or her own complaint, by foisting upon a party imputed damages that may have not been alleged in the case for strategic reasons.   And while the Court recognized that an individual plaintiff may avoid litigating in federal court by stipulating to an amount in controversy below the federal jurisdiction requirement, the Court unanimously held  that the same is not true for a plaintiff seeking to represent a proposed class: "Our reason is a simple one: Stipulations must be binding…. [a] plaintiff who files a proposed class action, cannot legally bind members of the proposed class before the class is certified." Slip op. at 4.   Even though this…

This term the Supreme Court granted cert to Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk, No. 11-1059, an appeal from the Third Circuit decision, 656 F.3d 189 (3d Cir. 2011).  At issue is whether a defendant can moot a putative Fair Labor Standards Act (“FSLA”) collective action by "picking off" the named plaintiff through a Rule 68 offer of judgment before certification.  While the Court's decision will no doubt impact the future viability of wage and hour collective actions, it may also have the potential to affect Rule 23 class actions as well. Briefly, the plaintiff, Laura Symczyk, alleged that her employer, Genesis, improperly deducted her pay for meal breaks even though she often did not take them.  After answering, Genesis proffered a Rule 68 offer of judgment of “$7,500.00 in alleged unpaid wages, plus attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.”  After the plaintiff refused the offer, Genesis moved to dismiss, arguing that…

Close