Since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Wal-Mart v. Dukes decision in 2011, courts and employers have focused on the commonality requirement pursuant to Rule 23(a)(2) for class certification. Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure spells out the criteria for establishing the validity of a class action, in which a group of plaintiffs may join together to pursue a claim in court. (See box below.)
This focus on the commonality requirements for class-action lawsuits is good news for employers. If a recent 7th Circuit case is an indication, courts are taking a close look at whether groups of plaintiffs have enough in common to constitute a valid class. It may mean that employers will face fewer large class-action lawsuits.
In August, the 7th Circuit addressed the issue in Bolden v. Walsh (No. 12-cv-2205, 7th Cir., 2012), reversing a class order certifying two classes. The appeals court held that the plaintif...(register to read more)