Epstein Becker Green Wage and Hour Defense Blog Cited in “New Supreme Court Class Action Ruling a Boon for Employers”

Wage & Hour – Developments & Highlights

A recent Wage and Hour Defense Blog post titled “Supreme Court Prevents Successive Class Actions from Reviving Time-Barred Claims,” authored by Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm, was cited in “New Supreme Court Class Action Ruling a Boon for Employers,” on the Wage & Hour – Developments & Highlights blog.

Following is an excerpt:

The legal world is abuzz with the ripples created by a recent US Supreme Court decision on the statute of limitations in class actions. A recent post in the Epstein Becker Wage & Hour Defense Blog makes some interesting observations on the case and the issue of its application to wage-hour/overtime class actions. The case is entitled China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh and issued from the US Supreme Court a few days ago. …

This case followed the holding in American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, where the Court held that a timely-filed complaint seeking relief for a class stayed the running of the statute of limitations for other class members and that if class certification was denied, other people could enter the case without their own statute of limitations being eroded away. As the post notes, the Court subsequently ruled that this tolling principle also applied when individual members of the class later filed their own individual actions. That left the question of whether the tolling rules enunciated in these cases applied to future class actions. …

The China Agritech, holding gives employers a new and powerful weapon to defeat class actions. The American Pipe doctrine of allowing tolling for future plaintiffs in FLSA class is not viable anymore although courts will probably permit individual lawsuits seeking recovery for weeks which would have been barred under the American Pipe rationale. It is possible that subsequent class actions will be allowed if filed by people who were in a putative class that did not receive certification but there will be no tolling. As the Epstein post notes, and with which I totally agree, employers should look, first, when defending a FLSA class action, if there is a statute of limitations defense. That would get rid of the entire case!