Brief Fact Summary. Respondent, Falcon, sought class certification for his claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to include all people who may have been discriminated against in hiring or promotion by Petitioner, General Telephone Co.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. To certify a class action under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure a plaintiff has to not only state his specific claim but also explain why his claim is typical of the class at large.
For, under the Fifth Circuit's across-the-board rule, it is permissible for an employee complaining of one employment practice to represent another complaining of another practice, if the plaintiff and the members of the class suffer from essentially the same injury.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue is whether Respondent’s class action certification should be upheld.
Held. The majority of the United States Supreme Court overturned the class certification and remanded back to the district court because Respondent did not offer the proper support. Respondent advanced his own specific claim of intentional discrimination and then tried to blanket his claim over a class. Respondent would be required to allege a pattern in their practices, that their pattern was motivated by discrimination and that the pattern was present in both their hiring and promotion practices.
Concurrence. United States Chief Justice Warren Burger agreed that there was no basis for certifying a class action, but he would not have remanded the case because he believed that Respondent could not offer any basis for a class action.
Discussion. If Respondent was allowed to certify this as a class action, according to the Court, it would have set a bad precedent for anyone who had a specific grievance to always attempt to obtain class certification.