Day v. Celadon Trucking Servs., No. 15-1711 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, a class of former employees of Continental, filed suit against Celadon, alleging that Celadon violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, 29 U.S.C. 2102. The district court certified the class, granted partial summary judgment to the employees, and awarded damages. Viewing the Celadon–Continental transaction in light of a common-sense approach, the court agreed with the district court that the transaction was more than merely a sale of assets. Consequently, responsibility to provide notice passed from Continental to Celadon under the WARN Act where plaintiffs became employees of Celadon. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in requiring Celadon to bear the burden of establishing that certain members of the certified class should be excluded; the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Celadon's motion to decertify the class; and the district court did not err in not adopting the magistrate judge's report and recommendation regarding class membership. In regard to the issue of damages, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by shifting the burden to Celadon after the employees made their initial showing. After thoroughly reviewing the evidentiary rulings of the district court in light of the burden-shifting framework it employed, the court held that the district court did not commit a clear and prejudicial abuse of discretion. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to reduce Celadon's liability. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.