Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs attempt to sue as a class which is denied by the court which severed the claims and requires them to be brought individually.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
In a class action employment discrimination case individual plaintiffs may be joined in a single action even if individual class members have suffered different effects from the alleged discrimination.
Plaintiff Mosley, the class representative for 9 other employees, alleged that Defendant GM and their union discriminated against them on account of their race. Each person filed charges with the EEOC which found that they each had cause for civil action. Plaintiffs then brought actions individually and as class representatives alleging Defendants discriminated against their Black and female employees. Of the twelve counts, the district court, on Defendant GM’s motion, ordered the first 10 counts to be severed into separate action to be brought individually and not as a class. The district court concluded that there was no question of law or fact common to all the plaintiffs’ claims to warrant joinder under FRCP 20(a), and that the only similarity between the claims was that it was against the same employer. Plaintiffs applied for an interlocutory appeal from this order.
In a class action employment discrimination case, may individual plaintiffs’ claims be joined even if the individual class members have suffered different forms of alleged discrimination?
Yes, in a class action employment discrimination case individual plaintiffs’ claims may be joined even if the individual class members have suffered different forms of alleged discrimination. The judgement of the district court disallowing joinder is reversed and remanded but the part of the district court’s judgement that withholds determination of the legitimacy of the purposes class until further discovery is affirmed.
1. Under FRCP 20(a), plaintiffs may join in one action if they have asserted a right to relief arising out of the same transaction or occurrence and they have a question of law or fact common to all parties.
2. Plaintiffs assert a company wide policy of discrimination against Black people that was similar to that in United States v. 3. Mississippi in which case the court determined did involve the same transaction or occurrence, therefore satisfying the first prong.
4. As to the second prong, courts have held the discriminatory conduct of a defendant in the employment discriniation context as basic to the class. The fact that each plaintiff suffered different results from the discrimination does not matter.
5. Plaintiffs have met the requirements of FRCP 20(a).
6. The judgement of the district court disallowing joinder is reversed and remanded but the part of the district court’s judgement that withholds determination of the legitimacy of the purposes class until further discovery is affirmed.