On May 29, 2013, the Daily Journal had a story on the Ninth Circuit's opinion last week in Leyva v. Medline Industries, Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (9th Cir. May 28, 2013), which reversed the district court's order denying class certification of certain wage and hour claims, and remanded with directions to certify the class.
As I mentioned to Laura Hautala of the Daily Journal, the most important thing about the opinion is its recognition that Comcast did not change the rule that individualized damages issues do not defeat class certification. Slip op. at 7-9. The opinion affirmed the general rule, which is that class certification can and should be granted in Rule 23(b)(3) cases not withstanding the need to calculate damages individually for each class member:
The district court denied certification because for each sub-class “the damages inquiry will be highly individualized.” But damages determinations are individual in nearly all wage-and-hour class actions. Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court, 273 P.3d 513, 546 (Cal. 2012) (“In almost every class action, factual determinations of damages to individual class members must be made. Still we know of no case where this has prevented a court from aiding the class to obtain its just restitution. Indeed, to decertify a class on sound the death-knell of the class action device.”) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Thus, “[t]he amount of damages is invariably an individual question and does not defeat class action treatment.” Blackie v. Barrack, 524 F.2d 891, 905 (9th Cir. 1975); see also Yokoyama, 594 F.3d at 1089 (“The potential existence of individualized damage assessments . . . does not detract from the action’s suitability for class certification.”). In deciding otherwise, the district court abused its discretion by applying the wrong legal
standard. See Hinkson, 585 F.3d at 1263.
Indeed, the Supreme Court clarified in Dukes that “individualized monetary claims belong in Rule 23(b)(3).” 131 S. Ct. at 2558. Thus, the presence of individualized damages cannot, by itself, defeat class certification under Rule 23(b)(3). ....
Slip op. at 7-8. The panel's citation of Brinker and Dukes in support of its ruling is notable, as is its reliance on Yokoyama (discussed in this blog post) and Blackie, which reconfirms the continuing vitality of both opinions post-Dukes and post-Comcast.
This was my original report on Comcast.
I have been very busy in my day job lately, but I'm hoping to find time to catch up with my blogging in the coming weeks.