Proskauer on Class and Collective Actions
Mark W. Batten

Mark W. Batten

Partner

Mark Batten is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Class & Collective Actions Group.

Mark represents employers nationwide at all stages of complex employment litigation, including class and collective actions on wage and hour matters and discrimination claims. Ranked by Chambers USA, Mark is hailed as “a fabulous lawyer, handling interesting and complex cases.” Clients “highly recommend him to anyone seeking litigation counsel in the Boston area,” as well as note “he is responsive, pragmatic and team-oriented, and offers excellent legal advice.”

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Seventh Circuit Affirms Denial of Class Certification for Failure to Show Commonality under Dukes in Vacation Pay Suit

Last week, in McCaster et al. v. Darden Restaurants, Inc. et al., No. 15-3258 (7th Cir. Jan. 5, 2017), the Seventh Circuit relied on Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011) and affirmed the district court’s denial of class certification of Plaintiffs’ claims for vacation pay under state law.  The Seventh Circuit’s reliance … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Takes Away a Class Action Defense Tool That We Couldn’t Really Use Anyway

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2016), that when a defendant makes an offer to resolve the named plaintiff’s claim for full value, but the plaintiff turns it down, the case is not moot, and simply proceeds. Campbell-Ewald had argued that since it had offered to … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Adopts Second Circuit’s “Primary Beneficiary” Test for Unpaid Interns

On September 11, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit became the first appellate court to address the standard for lawful unpaid internships since the Second Circuit’s ruling in Glatt et al. v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. et al. (For more on Glatt, see our post here). The new decision adopts the Glatt test and reasoning wholesale, and … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Revives Contract Attorney’s Misclassification Suit

On July 23, 2015, the Second Circuit, in Lola v. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Tower Legal Staffing, Inc., revived a putative collective action brought by David Lola, a contract attorney, against Skadden and Tower Legal Staffing, Inc., alleging violations of the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The Second Circuit … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Adopts The “Highly Individualized” Primary Beneficiary Test In Unpaid Intern Lawsuits

On July 2nd, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decisions in Glatt et al. v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. et al. and Wang et al.  v. The Hearst Corp., the two unpaid intern lawsuits heard in tandem by the court on January 30, 2015.  The court’s opinion in Glatt, … Continue Reading

Magistrate Recommends Denial of Class Certification in Goldman Sachs Gender Discrimination Suit

On March 10, 2015, a group of plaintiffs suing Goldman Sachs for gender discrimination suffered another setback in their attempt to certify a company-wide class in the case of Chen-Oster et al. v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 10 Civ. 6950, pending in the Southern District of New York.  In that decision, linked here, Magistrate Judge … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Refuses Application of Bright-Line Test in FLSA Seaman Exemption Dispute

On November 13, 2014, the Fifth Circuit addressed the uncertainty stemming from its decision in Owens v. SeaRiver Maritime, Inc., 272 F.3d 698 (5th Cir. 2001), wherein the Court found that a plaintiff’s unloading and loading of vessels was considered “nonseaman” work subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime requirements. Subsequent to that decision, … Continue Reading

Former Dukes Class Members Foiled by Eleventh Circuit’s “No Piggybacking” Rule

Former Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes class members were dealt another blow this week when Southern District of Florida District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. granted Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss more regionally-focused class claims that had been brought by certain members of the doomed Dukes class.  In Love v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 12-61959-Civ-SCOLA (S.D. … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Once Again Denied Class Certification in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

In the latest chapter in what is now a twelve-year legal battle, plaintiffs seeking to bring gender-based disparate treatment and disparate impact claims against Wal-Mart with regard to the retail giant’s pay and promotion decisions were again denied class certification in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. CV 01-022520-CRB (N.D. Cal. Aug. 2, 2013).  Following … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Certification Requires Class-wide Proof of Damages

The dissent in today’s Supreme Court decision on class certification, Comcast Corp. v. Behrends (PDF copy here), argues that “the decision should not be read to require, as a prerequisite to certification, that damages attributable to a classwide injury be measurable on a class-wide basis.”  The dissenters may be the only ones who think so, though. … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Applies Dukes To A Wage And Hour Matter

Since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), plaintiffs in wage and hour cases have urged courts to ignore the decision, arguing that it only applies to discrimination cases, not to wage and hour matters.  Surprisingly, considering that the Court was interpreting Rule 23, which applies … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds That Individualized Damages Preclude Certification

On Monday, February 4, the Seventh Circuit decided Espenscheid v. DirectSat, Inc.  The decision is notable for two holdings.  First, Judge Posner held, rather summarily, that there is no good reason to distinguish certification of opt-in FLSA collectives from opt-out Rule 23 classes, and that the same standards should apply.  That is welcome news for … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Confirms Employees Must Report Time Worked

In White v. Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. (PDF), the Sixth Circuit held yesterday that summary judgment was properly granted for an employer against an employee’s meal break claim, where the employee had failed to record her time worked in the employer’s timekeeping system.  The hospital had provided an “exception log” mechanism that allowed employees … Continue Reading

Nibbling Away at Concepcion

In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. __, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), the Supreme Court upheld a waiver of class arbitration in a consumer contract.  Four recent moves have begun the process of responding to and exploring the boundaries of the Court’s decision.… Continue Reading

Losing the Battle But Winning the War

The Tenth Circuit ruled on Wednesday in Maestas v. Day & Zimmerman LLC (pdf) that an employee’s “primary duty” — which is the relevant inquiry in determining whether an employee is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act — is a question of fact, not a question of law.  Although the ruling was a setback … Continue Reading

Decapitating Class Actions

One potential early approach to a class action is to “decapitate” it — to knock out the claims of the class representative(s), often by finding some deficiency in their individual claim that supports a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment.  Another approach, though, is to settle with the named plaintiffs.  That buys no peace … Continue Reading

Increase in Rat Population Predicted

These days, a union protest or picket that doesn’t include a 16-foot inflatable rat, well, just isn’t really a protest.  Expect to see more of them after the Board’s decision yesterday in Brandon Regional Medical Center (pdf).  (For an enormous compilation of rat photos, see this link).  The Board held that the ubiquitous rat may … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Favors Arbitration — Again

In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently favored arbitration against efforts to limit it, so long as the parties’ intent to arbitrate is clear.  In 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, in which Proskauer represented the Petitioner, the Court held that parties to a collective bargaining agreement can require bargaining unit members to arbitrate discrimination claims … Continue Reading

Looks Like Wal-Mart Has The Edge – But By How Much?

Although the questions were flying in both directions yesterday, as usual for the Supreme Court, the tone of the Justices’ interaction suggested that Wal-Mart has the edge over the plaintiffs.  As others have reported, Justices Kennedy and Scalia were quite skeptical of the plaintiffs’ theory that store-by-store discretion could be characterized as a common policy … Continue Reading

Class Arbitration Waivers: More Uncertainty

Continuing on our recent theme of conflicting rules on class issues, Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of New York ruled March 3 (PDF) that Ernst & Young could not enforce a provision in its employment contracts with its accountants that waived class claims and required claims against E&Y, including overtime claims, to be … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Says Hybrid Wage Cases Are OK

Class action defense counsel, at least, have argued for a long time that there is a basic incompatibility between collective action claims under the FLSA, which require individual plaintiffs to opt in to the litigation, and wage claims brought under state law, which generally are opt -out cases — meaning that everyone in the job classification … Continue Reading
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