People's Law Guide
Attorney Peter Mavrick
OBTAINING CLASS CERTIFICATION UNDER THE WARN ACT: PART TWO
This article is part two of four related articles, addressing the requirements needed to represent a plaintiff in a class action under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2101—2109, et seq. (“WARN Act”). This article provides a brief overview what a plaintiff needs to establish the typicality requirement for a Rule 23, Fed. R. Civ. Proc., class action.
Where the claims of the named plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the class in that they allege they were laid off from their employment with defendant, without proper notice, courts have held that they assert the same interest and the same injury. The focus of the typicality inquiry is on whether the interests of the class representatives are sufficiently aligned with the interests of the absent class members, i.e., “that the named plaintiffs do not have markedly different factual circumstances or present legal theory different from the rest of the class.” In re Spring Ford Industries, Inc., 2004 Bankr. LEXIS 112 at *27 (E.D. Pa. 2004) (holding typicality requirement satisfied in WARN Act case where named representatives were fired without advance notice, as were large numbers of other employees, at approximately the same time). “A class representative must possess the same interest and suffer the same injury as the class members in order to be typical under Rule 23(a)(3).” Cooper v. Southern Co., 390 F.3d 695, 713 (11th Cir. 2004); Keele v. Wexler, 149 F.3d 589, 594 (7th Cir. 1998) (a “plaintiff’s claim is typical if it arises from the same event or practice or course of conduct that gives rise to the claims of other class members and his or her claims are based on the same legal theory”). “A finding of typicality can be established by a strong similarity of legal theories and common facts, and is not precluded by allegations of, or presence of, some factual differences between the claims of the named plaintiff and other class members.” Kelly v. Sabretech, Inc., 195 F.R.D. 48, 53 (S.D. Fla. 1999) (finding that typicality requirement was met in WARN class action), citing Appleyard v. Wallace, 754 F.2d 955, 958 (11th Cir. 1985).
Part three discusses meeting the adequacy of representation requirement, and part four addresses the requirements of Rule 23(b)(3), Fed.R.Civ.Proc.
Attorney Peter Mavrick practices in the field of business and labor/employment litigation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His law office phone number is (954) 564-2246. Information contained in this article is accurate as of June 2008. This article is for general information use only, and does not substitute for specifically tailored legal advice.