As anyone interested in class actions and mass torts surely knows, last week the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the much-anticipated Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo appeal. While practitioners and corporations may have been hoping for sweeping pronouncements with black and white application regarding the use of statistical evidence (i.e., “trial by formula”), the decision did what SCOTUS decisions often do — decide the issue on narrow grounds. Much has already been written about this decision, and no doubt there is more to come, but we thought the attached piece by our colleagues did a particularly good job at summarizing the decision and its potential impact.
One thing is clear, parties will continue to argue for and against the use of statistical extrapolation, especially in the class action context. Tyson Foods contains tidbits for everyone to latch onto and it will be interesting to see how the lower courts apply this decision in the months and years to come. We will follow this dynamic area and report on meaningful decisions as they are issued.