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U.S Supreme Court to Review Use of Statistics in Class Actions
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Tyson Foods

Summary: With class actions filed in courts throughout the United States frequently, the ability to use members of the class without injury and average statistics will be a big factor for future cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court will take on what classifies a class action lawsuit for the third time in ten years. The latest case involving Tyson Foods has prompted the company to ask for review on the usage of statistical averages in a class action and involving uninjured parties in the class.

  
What
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Employees of Tyson’s meat-processing plant in Storm Lake, Iowa brought the lawsuit in 2007 against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law. The workers were paid for the time spent at their work stations while the production line was moving, or as the company calls it “gang time”.

The workers were also paid a daily “K-Code” amount to employees because they either worked with knives or around those that did, making them have to take on and off personal protective equipment and walk to and from the production line. K-Code is a fixed time and doesn’t account for how long each employee takes to individually do these actions.

The employees believe they were not being compensated enough for the time it took to take on and off the protective equipment and then walk to their workstation. The Northern District of Iowa categorized the lawsuit as a class action. During the trial, the employees provided statistical average times that each employee takes to take on and off the equipment. The employees were awarded $2.9 million by the jury and additional liquidated damages to be a total of $5.8 million.

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Tyson appealed and the panel divided 2-1, affirming the class certification and liability.

Source: http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/home/id=1202731984067



Photo: globalmeatnews.com



 

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