Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo

Tyson appealed judgment for Bouaphakeo and other class members for uncompensated overtime incurred in donning and doffing protective clothing. The Court, 6-2 with one added concurrence, affirmed. The held that the use of a representative time study of donning and doffing was appropriate in the class certification as Tyson failed to keep records and this kind of representative study has been approved in the class action context. It held that whether the study was admissible goes to the rules of evidence and not to the form of the action and statistical or other forms of representative proof are not per se barred in class action certification or class action suits. The majority finally declined to address the second issue as Tyson changes its formulation after certiorari was granted and in any event seems to have invited any error by insisting on merits and damages being tried together. Chief Justice Roberts, joined in relevant part buy Alito, added a concurrence arguing that the district court is likely to be unable at this point to figure out which class members in fact suffered no damages as the jury rejected plaintiffs’ theory and we do not know how it arrived at the judgment mount and if the district court cannot figure out who was damaged, the judgment has to be vacated. Thomas, joined by Alito, dissented arguing that the district court improperly certified here as it failed to give proper weight to the individualized proof needed for a finding of unpaid overtime and failing to adequately deal with the wide variety of time taken by individuals within the time study. He also argued the majority erred in allowing no common methodology of damages and finding damages here were susceptible of proof by the studies.

Stergeon v Frost

Sturgeon sued for declaratory and injunctive relief to allow him to use his hovercraft on certain Alaska waterways to hunt moose. The district court denied relief and the 9th Circuit affirmed. The court unanimously reversed. It held the reading of the relevant statute adopted by the 9th Circuit of allowing nationwide rules to apply in Alaska lands not owned by the federal government but not Alaska specific rules in untenable given the text and context of the statute, the fact that Alaska is treated differently than the rest of the United States in the relevant statutes and certain lands in Alaska may be exempted from certain regulations under the statute  which would be rendered meaningless by the 9th circuit rule. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

Nebraska v Parker

The Omaha Tribe sought to impose liquor taxes on certain establishments in Pender, Nebraska. Pender and the State of Nebraska challenged this assertion of jurisdiction and the challenge was rejected by both the district court and the 8th Circuit. The Court unanimously affirmed. It held that the statute relied upon by Nebraska to diminish the size of the Omaha Tribe did not do so as the language does not reduce the size of the reservation or cede land or otherwise alter the reservation but only opened land to settlement. The court held that the legislative history was mixed at best on the issue and changes in demographics were insufficient to overcome the plain language of the settlement act.

Caetano v Massachusetts

Caetano challenged her conviction for possessing a stun gun arguing the 2nd Amendment protected her use of the gun for self-protection. Massachusetts state courts rejected her argument on the basis that stun guns did not exist when the 2n Amendment was ratified and that stun guns are unusual and dangerous. The court, per curium with two justices concurring in judgment, summarily reversed and remanded. The per curium held that eh 2nd Amendment applies to arms in current times, to arms that are not military type weapons and ordered Massachusetts courts to analyze the case again.. Alito joined by Thomas concurred in judgment arguing stun guns are clearly protected as they are bearable by hand, used by thousands for protection and citizens cannot be required to exercise more force than comfortable by limiting their self-defense choice to handguns. He also argued Massachusetts was more interested in disarming Caetano than protecting her from her estranged boyfriend.