Jianmin Jin v. Shanghai Original, Inc., No. 19-3782 (2d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed a putative class action on behalf of himself and similarly-situated employees of Joe's Shanghai restaurant, alleging violations of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). The district court certified the class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) of all nonmanagerial employees at the Flushing, Queens location of Joe's Shanghai on the NYLL claims. However, five days before the trial was scheduled to start, the district court sua sponte decertified the class, determining that class counsel was no longer adequately representing the class. The district court held a bench trial on plaintiff's individual claims and entered judgment in favor of plaintiff against three of the defendants.
As a preliminary issue, the Second Circuit concluded that, although plaintiff prevailed on the merits of his claims, this appeal is not moot because he maintains standing as to the class certification issue. On the merits, the court concluded that because class counsel's conduct made clear that counsel was no longer adequately representing the class, the district court acted within its discretion in decertifying the class. In this case, the record is replete with counsel's shortcomings before the class was decertified. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment.