Second Circuit: Class Certification is Alive and Well in Employment Cases Involving Individualized Damages

February 2015

On February 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided Roach v. T.L. Cannon Corporation, resolving the question of how the Supreme Court’s Comcast Corp. v. Behrend decision should be interpreted in the Circuit. Comcast concerned the certification standard for damages class actions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). In Comcast, the Supreme Court held that it was improper to certify a class where questions of individual damage calculations would “overwhelm” questions that were common to the class. The Roach opinion makes clear that in the Second Circuit, Comcast does not overrule a “well-established” line of cases holding that individualized damages will not necessarily defeat a Rule 23(b)(3) certification. As a result, the mere fact that damages must be calculated individually is insufficient by itself to defeat class certification in employment cases.

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