United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOSEPH STRAUCH and TIMOTHY COLBY, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
COMPUTER SCIENCES CORPORATION, Defendant.
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S SECOND MOTION TO
BOND ARTERTON, U.S.D.J.
overtime exemption misclassification action, Defendant
Computer Sciences Corporation (“CSC”) moves [Doc.
# 373] to decertify the certified California and Connecticut
classes of Associate Professional and Professional System
Administrators (“SAs”) on the basis of the
purported legal deficiency of Plaintiffs' trial plan. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Defendant's
oral argument held on May 10, 2017, [Doc. ## 326, 329], the
Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs'
Motion [Doc. # 323] for Class Certification on June 30, 2017,
certifying Connecticut and California Rule 23 subclasses of
Professional and Associate Professional System
Administrators. See Strauch v. Computer Scis. Corp.,
No. 3:14-CV-956 (JBA), 2017 WL 2829652, at *1 (D. Conn. June
14, 2017, Defendant sought to appeal this Court's Order
on Class Certification to the Court of Appeals, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(f). (Petition for Permission to Appeal
Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(f) at 1, Strauch v. Computer
Sciences Corporation, No. 17-2185 (2d Cir. July 14,
2017).) Defendant asked the Court of Appeals to determine
“[w]hether the District Court erred in certifying a
class under Rule 23 by placing improper weight on the
company's uniform job titling program where the record
evidence clearly demonstrated wide variation among
individuals in the actual job qualifications,
characteristics, and duties.”
(Id.) On November 21, 2017, the Court of Appeals
denied Defendant's Rule 23(f) petition, finding that
“an immediate appeal is unwarranted.” (Mandate
Granting Mot. to File Reply and Denying Rule 23(f) Petition
[Doc. # 410].)
the pendency of the petition for interlocutory review,
Defendant on August 4, 2017 moved to decertify the California
class of Associate Professional and Professional System
Administrators due to the purported inadequacy of Mr. Strauch
as a class representative. (Mot. Decertification California
Subclass [Doc. # 343].) After carefully considering that
Motion to Decertify, the Court denied the motion on October
18, 2017, leaving the California class intact. See
Strauch v. Computer Scis. Corp., No. 3:14-CV-956 (JBA),
2017 WL 4683993, at *1 (D. Conn. Oct. 18, 2017). On October
27, 2017, Defendant filed the instant Motion [Doc. # 373] for
Decertification (hereinafter “Second Mot. to
Decertify”) arguing that the California and Connecticut
classes should both be decertified due to a legally deficient
trial plan put forward by Plaintiffs.
plans are a useful and important tool for managing the unique
challenges associated with complex class action litigation.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(1)(A),
“[a]t an early practicable time after a person sues or
is sued as a class representative, the court must determine
by order whether to certify the action as a class
action.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(c)(1)(A). Rule 23's text
contains no requirement that plaintiffs provide a trial plan
as part of the class certification determination, but the
Advisory Committee notes to the 2003 Amendment explain the
potential usefulness of trial plans in assisting courts
making class certification determinations:
A critical need is to determine how the case will be tried.
An increasing number of courts require a party requesting
class certification to present a “trial plan”
that describes the issues likely to be presented at trial and
tests whether they are susceptible of class-wide proof.
Committee Notes to 2003 Amendment to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23
itself therefore imposes no actual requirement of a trial
plan, but courts cited by Defendant have decertified or
refused to certify classes where the courts determined that
plaintiffs could present no manageable way of trying a class
Defendant fails to provide the Court with any support for the
proposition that Rule 23 imposes a formal requirement of a
trial plan, much less one that meets certain enumerated
criteria, Defendant is correct that in managing complex class
litigation, the Court retains the responsibility of ensuring
that a putative class, once certified, remains susceptible to
class-wide proof at trial.
claims that Plaintiffs' trial plan is inadequate because
it calls for an insufficient and arbitrarily-selected sample
size of testifying witnesses, because it fails to account for
variance among class members, because it fails to account for
SAs in the certified classes who performed exempt job duties,
and because the trial plan risks violating the parties'
due process and Seventh Amendment rights.
counter (1) that Defendant is attempting to relitigate the
class certification order by making the same arguments but
raising no previously overlooked case law or evidence, (2)
that Plaintiffs intend to make their case primarily based on
direct, common evidence such that they need not present a
statistical sample of class member live witness ...