Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keep Your Cards And Letters Coming!


Well it sure is flattering to read some of your mail.

Good thing I can see that what might be perceived by a more thin-skinned civil law blogger as a vicious or derogatory insult is in fact just a playful, perhaps flirtatious effort at getting to know me better.

Note to a certain H&K associate who emailed me on Tuesday -- yes, yes, and if you think such a thing is feasible -- definitely yes.

And while many of you have some very interesting story ideas, all I can say to J.K. in Kendall is the NYT already beat me to it -- it turns out AT&T did in fact rig the Kris Allen "victory" on American Idol.

Don't worry -- the Times will get to that torture expose someday, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, I took one of you up and actually took the time to see what the 11th Circuit did recently and -- lo and behold -- they actually issued an interesting opinion today.

The case, Shirley Williams v. Mohawk Industries, Inc., deals with allegations by a class of employees that an employer systematically worked with temp hiring agencies to hire illegal laborers and thereby injured the rest of the employees by depressing their wages in violation of RICO.

That's good old-fashioned American ingenuity!

At issue was the district court's denial of class certification, which found there were not enough common issues, too many individual issues, that the plaintiffs were not typical, you get the picture.

The 11th reversed, and noted that -- unlike Title VII claims -- under Klay v. Humana, RICO claims are often susceptible to common proof. The court found there were common questions relating to whether the employer had violated GA or the federal RICO statute.

The court also found that the district court abused its discretion in holding that the plaintiffs' claims were not typical. The defendant had argued that the representative plaintiffs only worked at a few places, and therefore were not "typical" of the class as a whole:
Jones and Pelfrey allege that Mohawk conducted the affairs
of an enterprise by hiring illegal labor, which depressed the employees’ wages.
This claim is typical of the claims of other members of the class because the claims
are based on the same legal theory. Because the employees’ claim is that the hiring
of illegal aliens by Mohawk depressed the wages of all legal hourly workers
regardless of location, whether the two class representatives worked at a few
locations is irrelevant. Although this legal theory may ultimately not be sustained
by the evidence, it is typical of the class of which Jones and Pelfrey are
representative.
Relying on Klay, the 11th also found that in RICO cases the overriding common issues will usually establish predominance:
In Klay, we explained that “the common issues of fact [in a RICO action],
concerning the existence of a[n enterprise and] a pattern of racketeering activity . .
. are quite substantial. They would tend to predominate over all but the most
complex individual issues.” 382 F.3d at 1258–59. “It is primarily when there are
significant individualized questions going to liability that the need for
individualized assessments of damages is enough to preclude 23(b)(3)
certification.” Id. at 1260.
Finally, the 11th held that the manageability requirement is usually established where predominance has been found, and remanded to the district court for a renewed manageability analysis focusing on the plaintiffs' claims of common proof as to damages.

Ok kids, you can now bill 4.8 hours on "professional development -- review new 11th Circuit opinion on RICO" -- all for visiting this crappy blog!

8 comments:

GB said...

There's only one Guest Blogger, baby......

GB said...

The RICO decision is somewhat at odds with DC rulings in our district .

Interesting to see the effect it may have at the trial court level.

What exactly did the HK associate want to do?

Anonymous said...

"[C]rappy blog."

Sounds like a LeBatard influence in your description, SFL (not that that's a bad thing).

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Anonymous said...

Good post, informative too!

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South Florida Lawyers said...

6:09, I like Lebby and his sidekick, and they run an entertaining program.

My problem with Leb is he sometimes is contrarian simply to be controversial, and his writing occasionally lapses into cliched sports-speak, but on the whole he's better than average.

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