Ross v. Wolf Fire Protection, Inc.

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In Brief

A court’s authority to issue a protective order limiting communication between defendant and potential class members requiring a showing of a “blatant attempt to subvert the class action process” or bad faith.

What Happened in Court

After the plaintiff employees initiated an FLSA class action lawsuit for unpaid wages, lawyers for the defendant organization gathered employees and asked that they review and sign affidavits that would be helpful to the company.  The plaintiffs argued that this was coercive and abusive communications by the defendants and that the court should issue a protective order limiting further such communications.  The District Court declined, finding that the defendant’s conduct did not represent a “blatant attempt to subvert the class action process.”  The court did note, however, that “future misleading communications with potential class members [would] result in the issuance of a protective order.”