March 22, 2016

Win: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Class-Action Suit Against Tyson Foods

Statement of Scott Michelman, Attorney, Public Citizen

Note: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 in Tyson Foods Inc. v. Bouaphakeo that Tyson Foods workers were entitled to litigate, as a class, their claims for lost wages due to violations of wage and hour laws. The company had argued that the workers should not have been able to join together in a single lawsuit because each worker’s claimed loss was different. Public Citizen served as co-counsel for the workers in the Supreme Court.

Today’s decision is a strong reaffirmation of workers’ rights to join together in taking their employer to court for failing to pay wages due under state and federal laws. The Supreme Court rejected the corporate defense bar’s strong push to eliminate the ability of workers and consumers to litigate common claims through class actions – which are critical to holding corporations accountable for systemic wrongdoing.

We were privileged to work with Robert Wiggins of Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher & Goldfarb LLC in Birmingham, Ala.; David Frederick of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC in Washington, D.C.; and Eric Schnapper of the University of Washington School of Law.