United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
STEPHEN R. BOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification
(Doc. #39). Following a review of the parties' joint
Stipulation Regarding Class Certification (Doc. #53), and for
the reasons stated below, the Court determines class
certification is appropriate, and the Motion is GRANTED.
7, 2019, Plaintiff Dawn Morris and the putative class members
filed their First Amended Class Action Complaint
(“Complaint”), alleging Defendants violated the
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988
(“WARN Act”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2101-2109,
by failing to give Plaintiffs at least sixty days advance
written notice before terminating their employment. (Doc.
#34, p. 1). Plaintiffs request back pay and benefits under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974
(“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.,
“for sixty (60) working days following” the
termination of their employment, as provided under the WARN
Act. (Doc. #34, p. 14). Plaintiff sought class certification
under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(3) and
“the specific statutory provision contemplating class
treatment of claims under” the WARN Act. (Doc. #39, p.
1) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 23; 29 U.S.C. § 2104(a)(5)). On
September 3, 2019, the parties filed a Stipulation Regarding
Class Certification (Doc. #53), the terms of which are
WARN Act contemplates class-action adjudication.”
Day v. Celadon Trucking Servs., Inc., 827 F.3d 817,
833 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing 29 U.S.C. § 2104(a)(5)
(“A person seeking to enforce such liability . . . may
sue either for such person or for other persons similarly
situated, or both, in any district court of the United
States”)). Class certification is governed by Rule 23,
and a proposed class must satisfy all four prerequisites of
Rule 23(a) and at least one of the provisions of Rule 23(b).
Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 569 U.S. 27, 32 (2013);
Blades v. Monsanto Co., 400 F.3d 562, 568-69 (8th
Cir. 2005). Rule 23(a) requires the proponent of a class
action to show: 1) “the class is so numerous that
joinder of all members is impracticable” (numerosity);
2) “there are questions of law or fact common to the
class” (commonality); 3) “the claims or defenses
of the representative parties are typical of the claims or
defenses of the class” (typicality); and 4) “the
representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the
interests of the absent class members” (adequacy).
District courts must engage in a “rigorous
analysis” to determine whether “the prerequisites
of Rule 23(a) have been satisfied.” Gen. Tel. Co.
of Sw. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 161 (1982).
Rule 23(a) prerequisites have been met, a class action may be
maintained only if at least one Rule 23(b) provision is
satisfied. Here, Plaintiff argues a class action is
appropriate under Rule 23(b)(3). Rule 23(b)(3) permits a
class action where “the court finds that the questions
of law or fact common to class members predominate over any
questions affecting only individual members, and that a class
action is superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(b)(3). For classes certified under Rule 23(b)(3),
“the court must direct to class members the best notice
that is practicable under the circumstances . . . ”
review of the parties' joint Stipulation Regarding Class
Certification and Proposed Class Notice, the Court finds the
requirements of Rule 23(a) and 23(b)(3) are satisfied, as
well as the notice requirements of Rule 23(c)(2)(B). The
Court certifies a class comprised of the following members:
All former employees who worked at or reported to the
facility located at 5305 Highway H Pleasant Hope, MO 65725
(the “Facility”) until they were laid off,
furloughed and/or terminated, without cause on their part, on
or about January 11, 2018, within thirty (30) days before
that date or in the sixty (60) days thereafter, as part of,
or as the reasonably expected consequence of, the mass layoff
and/or plant closing occurring on or about January 11 and 12,
2018, and who do not file a timely request to opt-out of the
Rule 23(a) Requirements
Court has conducted a rigorous analysis of the proposed class
and finds that it satisfies the Rule 23(a) requirements of
numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy.
is satisfied since the proposed class is comprised of the
Plaintiff and more than 200 other similarly-situated
employees. The number of possible claimants makes joinder of
the proposed members impracticable, and a class action is an
appropriate mechanism to expediently resolve of all the Class
Members' claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1).
under Rule 23(a)(2) is also satisfied because there are
questions of law or fact common to every member of the class.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 388, 349
(2011). The common issues presented include: whether
Defendants are part of a “single employer”
sharing in WARN Act liability; whether Defendants'
actions triggered the sixty-day notice requirement; whether
statutory exceptions to the notice requirement apply; and
whether Defendants failed to provide notice as required. Any
differences in the issues affecting Class Members'
circumstances (for example, their rates of pay and levels of
benefits under the WARN Act on the date of their layoff), do