Attorneys Michael Phillips and Chris Shaeffer Defeat a Motion for Class Certification
After years of litigation, Michael Phillips and Chris Shaeffer defeated a motion for class certification regarding a North Carolina skilled nursing facility. The plaintiffs sought damages arising out of alleged nursing home understaffing prior to and through the COVID-19 pandemic. Phillips and Shaeffer represented the nursing home located in North Carolina. The genesis of the action was a 2020 injunctive relief claim, which was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs in 2021. On the heels of that action, a purported class action was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, seeking the certification of a class of over 100 residents. The motion was extensively briefed, and, in November 2022, the court held oral arguments. On April 20, 2023, the court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order resoundingly denying the motion for class certification.
In short, the court held that the alleged class did not meet the Rule 23(a) commonality and typicality requirements, as well as the Rule 23(b)(3) requirements relating to predominance and manageability. Finally, the court declined to certify the class under Rule 23(c)(4) and ultimately held that the claim was “not readily amenable to class relief.”