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Employment – FLSA — class actions — mootness

U.S. Supreme Court

Civil

Employment – FLSA — class actions — mootness

Where an employee had no personal interest in representing putative, unnamed claimants, nor any other continuing interest that would preserve her suit from mootness, her suit was appropriately dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

Neither Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U. S. 393, nor United States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U. S. 388, support respondent’s position. Geraghty extended the principles of Sosna—which held that a class action is not rendered moot when the named plaintiff’s individual claim becomes moot after the class has been duly certified—to denials of class certification motions; and it provided that, where an action would have acquired independent legal status but for the district court’s erroneous denial of class certification, a corrected ruling on appeal “relates back” to the time of the erroneous denial. 445 U. S., at 404, and n. 11. However, Geraghty’s holding was explicitly limited to cases in which the named plaintiff’s claim remains live at the time the district court denies class certification. See id., at 407, n. 11. Here, respondent had not yet moved for “conditional certification” when her claim became moot, nor had the District Court anticipatorily ruled on any such request. She thus has no certification decision to which her claim could have related back. More fundamentally, essential to Sosna and Geraghty was the fact that a putative class acquires an independent legal status once it is certified under Rule 23. By contrast, under the FLSA, “conditional certification” does not produce a class with an independent legal status, or join additional parties to the action.

656 F. 3d 189, reversed.

11-1059 Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk

Thomas, J.; Kagan, J., dissenting.

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