Schuman v. The Connaught Group


New York Law Journal


Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein

Connaught Group ended Schuman's employment, and that of 100 colleagues, without 60 days' written notice. Schuman's putative class suit asserting claims under the Federal and New York State Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Acts (WARN Act) was brought five days after Connaught sought Chapter 11 relief in February 2012. Connaught and Schuman agreed to certain stays, extended the WARN Act bar date to Sept. 30, and stipulated to give plaintiff until Oct. 12 to seek class certification. Her counsel was sanctioned for failing to meet that deadline. The court confirmed Connaught's plan before the deadline passed. In addition to concluding that Schuman satisfied the numerosity, typicality, and other requirements governing class actions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7023 the court—distinguishing Musicland—granted class certification. The Connaught Group Creditors' Liquidating Trust—Connaught's successor—did not explain how a delay from Oct. 12 to Dec. 6, 2012, materially affects the administration of the bankruptcy estate. It also observed the delay could be even greater if class certification were denied and the bar date for WARN Act claimants extended.

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