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Bystry v. Royal Oak Industries, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 22, 2017

DUSTY A. BYSTRY, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
ROYAL OAK INDUSTRIES, INC. d/b/a ROYAL OAK BORING, INC. BRONSON d/b/a PRECISION PRODUCTS, INC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JANET T. NEFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Class Certification and Related Relief, accompanying memorandum, supporting declarations and documentation, and proposed order. A default was entered against Defendant following service of the motion and the withdrawal of defense counsel. Defendant has failed to respond to the motion. Upon review, the Court determines that Plaintiffs well-presented motion is properly granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that on or about February 15, 2016, Defendant Royal Oak Industries, Inc., d/b/a Royal Oak Boring, Inc. and d/b/a Bronson Precision Products, Inc., terminated the employment of Plaintiff and approximately 200 other employees who worked at Defendant's facilities in Bloomfield Hills, Bronson, and Port Huron, Michigan. Plaintiff and the other employees were terminated as part of, or as a result of a mass layoff and/or shutdown, as defined by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2101(a)(2) (the "WARN Act"). Further, Defendant carried out the mass layoff and/or shutdown without giving 60 days' advance notice to Plaintiff and the employees as required by the WARN Act. Defendant also failed to pay Plaintiff and the other former employees 60 days' pay and benefits in lieu of WARN notice.

         On February 26, 2016, Plaintiff commenced this Class Action Complaint (hereinafter the "Complaint") against Defendant (ECF No. 1). On June 30, 2016, Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint (ECF No. 13), and an Amended Answer on July 21, 2016 (ECF No. 15). On September 22, 2016, the Court entered a Case Management Order (ECF No. 20).

         On December 30, 2016, Plaintiff filed and served the instant Motion for Class Certification and Related Relief (the "Class Certification Motion") (ECF Nos. 31, 32), including a proposed Order Certifying a Class and Granting Related Relief (ECF No. 32-5). Plaintiff states that prior to filing the Class Certification Motion, the parties informally exchanged information regarding putative class members in order to ascertain the scope of the class. Plaintiff was able to make a reasonable estimate of the class size, identity of putative class members, and potential damages.

         Subsequent to Plaintiff moving for class certification, Defendant's counsel filed an Unopposed Motion to Withdraw as Counsel (the "Motion to Withdraw") (ECF No. 33), which was granted on January 9, 2017 (ECF No. 35). In the Order granting the Motion to Withdraw, the Court ordered Defendant to secure new counsel on or before January 30, 2017 and permitted Plaintiff to file for entry of default and default judgment (ECF No. 35). Defendant failed to secure new counsel and has failed to file a Response to Plaintiffs Class Certification Motion.

         On March 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed for entry of default against Defendant (ECF No. 37), which was entered on March 20, 2017 (ECF No. 39). The motion for class certification is now before the Court as a matter preliminary to proceeding with default judgment.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Plaintiff moves for class certification pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. As the party seeking class certification, Plaintiff has the burden of showing that the requirements of Rule 23 are met. Smith v. ComputerTraining.com, Inc., No. 2:10-CV-11490, 2011 WL 308992, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 27, 2011) (citing Anchem Prods., Inc., v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591 (1997)). A district court has broad discretion in determining whether an action should be certified as a class action. Smith, 2011 WL 308992, at *2 (citing Sterling v. Velslcol Chemical Corp., 855 F.2d 1188, 1197 (6th Cir. 1988)).

         "[T]he Court is required to 'conduct a rigorous analysis into whether the prerequisites of Rule 23 are met before certifying a class.'" Smith, 2011 WL 308992, at *2 (quoting In re Am. Med. Sys., Inc., 75 F.3d 1069, 1078-1079 (6th Cir. 1996) (internal quotations and citation omitted)). Any doubt concerning whether to certify a class action should be resolved in favor of allowing a class. Smith, 2011 WL 308992, at *2 (citing Little Caesar Enter., Inc. v. Smith, 172 F.R.D. 236, 241 (E.D. Mich. 1997)).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Although a default has been entered against Defendant, <"(r)elief cannot be granted to a class before an order has been entered determining that class treatment is proper.'" Smith, 2011 WL 308992, at *2 (quoting Davis v. Romney, 490 F.2d 1360, 1366 (3rd Cir. 1974)); see also Partington v. Am. Int'l Specialty Lines Ins. Co., 443 F.3d 334, 340 (4th Cir. 2006); Davis v. Hutchins, 321 F.3d 641, 648 (7th Cir. 2003). For the reasons detailed in Plaintiffs memorandum, the Court finds the requirements for class certification met in this case, as summarized below.

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;A. Prerequisites ...


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