Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack, in the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, has ruled that the lawsuit on behalf of 12,000 children in permanent foster care can proceed as a class action. The court’s 107-page certification order includes an analysis of the requirements for class certification following the Supreme Court’s 2011 opinion in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. Significantly, the court ruled that the commonality requirement is satisfied by a shared risk of harm from such systemic failings as the State’s failure to employ an adequate number of caseworkers to ensure the children’s safety, even though some plaintiff children have not yet experienced abuse or neglect as a result of these failings.
The court’s certification order followed a multi-day certification hearing in which Yetter Coleman’s team of Paul Yetter, Lonny Hoffman, Dori Goldman, Chris Porter, and April Farris, had a lead role. Our co-counsel in this major litigation are Children’s Rights, a nonprofit organization based in New York, and Haynes and Boone. More details about the case are provided here.