Supreme Court Authorizes Use Of Statistical Sampling In Wage And Hour Case

In Tyson Foods' decade-long battle against its employees, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of sampling to estimate the amount of time workers spent "doffing and donning" protective gear at Tyson's Iowa "kill, cut and retrim" pork processing plant.

Plaintiffs introduced a sampling analysis at trial - based on 744 videotaped observations- which showed the average time workers spent putting on and taking off protective gear.  Tyson argued against class certification on predominance grounds, stating that differences in the time spent doffing and donning by each employee should have defeated class treatment.

The Court stated that the underlying question was whether the statistical sampling could have been used to establish liability in an individual action.  Here, where the sampling was used to fill an evidentiary gap caused by Tyson's failure to keep records, the Court held, citing its Mt. Clemens decision, that "the experience of a subset of employees can be probative as to the experiences of all of them."

The Court also declined to take up the issue of whether uninjured class members could recover as premature, but noted that the issue "is one of great importance."

The ruling was 6-2, with Justices Thomas and Alito dissenting.

About Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP

Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, wage and hour, and consumer class actions as well as shareholder derivative and merger and transactional litigation.  The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, consumers and employees. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292.

About Adam Gonnelli

Adam Gonnelli is a senior partner in Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP’s New York office and focuses his practice on complex civil litigation.

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