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PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: SEYFARTH’S 11TH ANNUAL WORKPLACE CLASS ACTION LITIGATION REPORT ANALYZES RISE IN NOVEL DEFENSES AND NEW TRENDS IN WORKPLACE CLASS ACTION LITIGATION FOR 2015

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has released its 11th annual edition of the Workplace Class Action Litigation Report, which is recognized as the nation’s most complete guide to workplace-related complex litigation. In this year’s Report, Seyfarth analyzed 1,219 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis to capture key themes from 2014 and emerging litigation trends facing U.S. companies in 2015.

Described as the “definitive source of information on employment class action litigation” and a resource that “no practitioner who deals with employment claims . . . should be without” by EPLiC Magazine, Seyfarth’s Report is the sole compendium in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to workplace class action litigation. In its largest edition to date, the 844-page Report is the “go to” research and resource guide for businesses and their corporate counsel facing complex litigation in the coming year.

seywarthshaw“In response to recent Supreme Court decisions on class action issues, Rule 23 law is undergoing a major transformation, and as a result, employers litigated an increased number of novel defenses in 2014,” said Seyfarth’s Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., co-chair of its Class Action Defense Group and author of the Report. “At the same time, wage and hour class actions and collective actions also continued their meteoric rise to new record levels, while the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advanced their litigation agendas in an aggressive fashion. All told, employers face a much more challenging landscape for defending workplace class action litigation in 2015.”

Across the country, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and Comcast Corp. v. Behrend continued to serve as the most influential “pivot points” for Rule 23 decisions in 2014, having a wide-ranging impact on virtually all class actions pending in federal and state courts. Across the lower federal and state courts in 2014, Wal-Mart was cited 571 times and Comcast was cited 261 times, which in turn generated a bevy of new case law.

Against this backdrop, the Seyfarth Report outlines a number of key trends for employers in 2015, including:

  • The Wal-Mart and Comcast decisions reshaped settlement strategies: while employment discrimination and wage and hour class action settlements stayed flat, governmental enforcement litigation settlements dropped to their lowest levels in a decade and ERISA settlements spiked nearly tenfold from 2013;
  • Wage and hour litigation represents the “prime” litigation risk in the workplace, as case filings increased yet again in 2014;
  • FLSA collective actions and state law wage and hour class actions produced more decisions than any other area of complex employment litigation in 2014;
  • The Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continued their aggressive litigation approaches in 2014 with mixed results, marked by several high-profile losses in the federal courts and their lowest aggregate settlement recoveries since 2006; and,
  • A bright spot: 2014 was a “transformative” year for the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) to the benefit of employers, solidifying defense strategies to secure removal of class actions to federal courts.

Divided into detailed chapters on leading class action settlements, federal law rulings, and state law rulings, the substantive areas examined by the Seyfarth Report include: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; EEOC pattern or practice cases; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Fair Labor Standards Act; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act; state law rulings in employment law, wage and hour, and breach of contract cases; key CAFA rulings, and other class action rulings with significance to Rule 23 and/or workplace litigation.

Again available via eBook, the Seyfarth Report is fully searchable, compatible with all major devices, allows readers to bookmark useful sections for easy future reference, and includes a number of other features, such as note-taking, highlighting and more.