The U.S. Chamber supported a Rule 23(f) petition seeking review of an order certifying a class action claiming that a company violated California law by classifying its distributors as independent contractors instead of employees. The Chamber’s amicus brief argued that in doing so, the district court failed to rigorously analyze whether the case presented an opportunity for administratively feasible and fair classwide adjudication, a fundamental requirement of Rule 23, which is rooted in the due process rights of defendants.
The brief explained that the district court failed to conduct this rigorous analysis in the following two ways. First, even though plaintiff’s claims implicated extensive individualized issues—including those presented by a nine-factor independent contractor test—the district court erroneously certified the class because some aspects of their claims could be adjudicated on a classwide basis. Second, the court erred by approving a trial plan that would bifurcate out individualized defenses to liability when those issue in fact preclude a finding that common questions predominate. Such relaxed Rule 23 analysis, the brief explained, relieves plaintiffs of their burden of proving at the certification stage that classwide liability can be established without resorting to individualized mini-trials.
Anton Metlitsky and Jason Zarrow of O’Melveny & Myers LLP served as counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.