Sixth Circuit affirms denial of class certification in Davis v. Cintas Corp.

On May 30, 2013, a unanimous panel for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision affirming the denial of class certification under Rule 23(b)(2) in Davis v. Cintas Corp., Case No. 10-1662 (6th Cir. May 30, 2013).

The appellant sought to bring claims under Title VII on behalf of a nationwide class for alleged discrimination in hiring practices by Cintas. She claimed that Cintas encouraged a male-dominated culture that systematically preferred male applicants, and that failed to apply its uniform testing procedures fairly and consistently. The case presented the court with an opportunity to engage in an extensive analysis of the landmark decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes as it applies to hiring procedures. 

The case is especially interesting because Cintas' hiring procedures were — arguably — more institutionalized than those reviewed in the Dukes decision. Yet the careful application of Dukes principles still defeated class certification. Of equal interest is that the court found that commonality was lacking under the less demanding standards of Rule 23(a)(2). And, the court rejected the appellant's "shortfall-based model" of damages, characterizing it as similar to the "trial-by-formula" system that was rejected in Dukes.

This case will receive closer scrutiny at the June 25, 2013, Class Action Roundup sponsored by the Ohio State Bar Association.  

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