The New York Times’ strained attempts to paint the Roberts Court as the handmaiden of big business continue, this time in the form of Lincoln Caplan’s criticism of the Court’s decision in Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk. Genesis involves plaintiff Laura Symczyk’s “collective action” lawsuit, on behalf of her and other unnamed but similarly situated employees, for her employer’s alleged violations of the Fair Standards Labor Act. Ms. Symczyk went to trial despite her employer’s FRCP 68 settlement, which covered all of her damages but not those of other employees. The Court addressed two questions: (1) did her employer’s settlement offer moot Ms. Symczyk’s standing to sue; and (2) if so, could she continue the lawsuit for the other employees? The Supreme Court answered yes to the first question, and no to the second, and dismissed the lawsuit.
Caplan’s characterization of Genesis — “outrageous” and nonsensical, “giv[ing] corporations the upper hand over everyone else” — falls flat. Genesis is actually notable for its narrowness and sensible affirmation of essential standing principles.