The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Ct. of Cal. “made clear that each plaintiff, no matter how similarly situated, must independently establish personal jurisdiction over his or her claim,” the company argues in its reply brief.
The employees argue that BMS involved mass tort claims in state court and therefore doesn’t apply to their federal class action.
Courts around the country are divided on whether the decision applies to class actions in federal court. The issue is percolating in three federal courts of appeal but none have ruled on it yet.
The workers allege Whole Foods denied employees in several states bonuses they were due under a company “gainsharing” program. Managers manipulated the program by shifting labor costs and altering employee time records, they say.
The lower court found it has jurisdiction over the nationwide class because BMS doesn’t apply to class actions.
Regan Zambri Long PLLC and Gupta Wessler PLLC represent the workers.
Greenberg Traurig LLP represents Whole Foods.
The case is Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc. v. Molock, D.C. Cir., No. 18-7162, reply brief 5/10/19.
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