Jul 05, 2012
The state Supreme Court will hear an appeal on whether a $187.6 million class action award against retail titan Wal-Mart over allegations that its Pennsylvania employees were not properly compensated for off-the-clock work and missed rest breaks violated Pennsylvania law.
The court granted allocatur on “whether, in a purported class action tried to verdict, it violates Pennsylvania law (including the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure) to subject Wal-Mart to a ‘trial by formula’ that relieves plaintiffs of their burden to produce classwide ‘common’ evidence on key elements of their claims.”
The class action award in Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Hummel v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the largest class action verdict in Pennsylvania history.
Last year, the state Superior Court upheld the class action award while determining that attorney fess needed to be recalculated.
While Wal-Mart argued in the Superior Court that the proof offered by the class only showed individual proof, not classwide proof, the intermediate appellate court said the commonality of the class was demonstrated through Wal-Mart's own business records to show that class members missed breaks, had too few breaks or had their breaks truncated. Wal-Mart had argued that individual employees would have to be questioned to determine if they were forced by managers to work through or truncate their breaks.
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