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Seventh Circuit Addresses Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Class Certification Standards

The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that the same standards governing Rule 23 class certification claims apply to wage-and-hour “collective action” claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Plaintiffs brought claims seeking to represent both a Rule 23 class and an FLSA class against a defendant satellite company, claiming the defendant had failed to properly compensate its technicians. The District Court decertified the classes, finding that there were too many individual questions of fact related to the damages each employee suffered.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed the decertification. Of particular importance, the Seventh Circuit held that the standards governing Rule 23 certification should be applied to wage-and-hour claims under the FLSA. Traditionally, according to the court, the only difference between the classes has been that a Rule 23 class is “opt-out,” while a FLSA class is “opt-in.” The court held that this was not “a good reason to have different standards for the certification of the two different types of action,” and therefore treated both as a single class. The Seventh Circuit’s ruling may pose additional obstacles for plaintiffs bringing wage-and-hour class actions if they must meet each of Rule 23’s requirements for certification. Espenscheid v. DirectSat USA, LLC, No. 12-1943 (7th Cir. Feb. 4, 2013).

©2015 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

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About this Author

Dean N. Razavi, entertainment litigator, Katten Muchin law firm
Associate

Dean Razavi concentrates his practice in entertainment litigation. He has represented a variety of motion picture studios, television networks, production companies and other media and entertainment concerns in disputes. Dean has experience representing these companies in cases regarding defamation, copyright, trademark, First Amendment, breach of contract and common law litigation. His cases in the entertainment field have included television shows like the Biggest Loser, and movies such as Drive and I Don't Know How She Does It. Dean...

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