throbber
(Slip Opinion)
`
`
`
` OCTOBER TERM, 2012
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`1
`
` NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is
`
`
`
` being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.
`
`
`
` The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been
`
` prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
`
` See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U. S. 321, 337.
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`
`
` Syllabus
`
` GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. ET AL. v. SYMCZYK
`
`CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
`
`THE THIRD CIRCUIT
` No. 11–1059. Argued December 3, 2012—Decided April 16, 2013
`
`Respondent brought a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards
`Act of 1938 (FLSA) on behalf of herself and “other employees similar-
`ly situated.” 29 U. S. C. §216(b). After she ignored petitioners’ offer
`of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, the District
`
`Court, finding that no other individuals had joined her suit and that
`the Rule 68 offer fully satisfied her claim, concluded that respond-
`ent’s suit was moot and dismissed it for lack of subject-matter juris-
`diction. The Third Circuit reversed. It held that respondent’s indi-
`vidual claim was moot but that her collective action was not,
`explaining that allowing defendants to “pick off” named plaintiffs be-
`fore certification with calculated Rule 68 offers would frustrate the
`goals of collective actions. The case was remanded to the District
`Court to allow respondent to seek “conditional certification,” which, if
`successful, would relate back to the date of her complaint.
`
`Held: Because respondent had no personal interest in representing pu-
`tative, unnamed claimants, nor any other continuing interest that
`
`
`would preserve her suit from mootness, her suit was appropriately
`
`dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Pp. 3–12.
`
`(a) While the Courts of Appeals disagree whether an unaccepted
`
`
`Rule 68 offer that fully satisfies a plaintiff’s individual claim is suffi-
`cient to render that claim moot, respondent conceded the issue below
`and did not properly raise it here. Thus, this Court assumes, without
`
`deciding, that petitioners’ offer mooted her individual claim. Pp. 3–5.
`
`(b) Well-settled mootness principles control the outcome of this
`case. After respondent’s individual claim became moot, the suit be-
`came moot because she had no personal interest in representing oth-
`ers in the action. To avoid that outcome, respondent relies on cases
`that arose in the context of Rule 23 class actions, but they are inap-
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`
`Syllabus
`posite, both because Rule 23 actions are fundamentally different from
`FLSA collective actions and because the cases are inapplicable to the
`
`facts here. Pp. 5–11.
`
`(1) Neither Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U. S. 393, nor United States Pa-
`role Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U. S. 388, support respondent’s posi-
`
`
`tion. Geraghty extended the principles of Sosna—which held that a
`class action is not rendered moot when the named plaintiff’s individ-
`
`
`ual claim becomes moot after the class has been duly certified—to
`
`denials of class certification motions; and it provided that, where an
`
`action would have acquired independent legal status but for the dis-
`trict court’s erroneous denial of class certification, a corrected ruling
`on appeal “relates back” to the time of the erroneous denial. 445
`
`U. S., at 404, and n. 11. However, Geraghty’s holding was explicitly
`
`limited to cases in which the named plaintiff ’s claim remains live at
`
`
`the time the district court denies class certification. See id., at 407,
`n. 11. Here, respondent had not yet moved for “conditional certifica-
`
`tion” when her claim became moot, nor had the District Court antici-
`patorily ruled on any such request. She thus has no certification de-
`cision to which her claim could have related back.
` More
`fundamentally, essential to Sosna and Geraghty was the fact that a
`putative class acquires an independent legal status once it is certified
`under Rule 23. By contrast, under the FLSA, “conditional certifica-
`tion” does not produce a class with an independent legal status, or
`join additional parties to the action. Pp. 7–8.
`
`
`(2) A line of cases holding that an “inherently transitory” class-
`action claim is not necessarily moot upon the termination of the
`
`
`named plaintiff’s claim, see, e.g., County of Riverside v. McLaughlin,
`500 U. S. 44, 52, is similarly inapplicable. Respondent argues that a
`defendant’s use of Rule 68 offers to “pick off” a named plaintiff before
`the collective-action process is complete renders the action “inherent-
`ly transitory.” But this rationale was developed to address circum-
`stances in which the challenged conduct was effectively unreviewable
`because no plaintiff possessed a personal stake in the suit long
`enough for litigation to run its course, and it has invariably focused
`on the fleeting nature of the challenged conduct giving rise to the
`claim, not on the defendant’s litigation strategy. Unlike a claim for
`injunctive relief, a damages claim cannot evade review, nor can an of-
`fer of full settlement insulate such a claim from review. Putative
`
`plaintiffs may be foreclosed from vindicating their rights in respond-
`ent’s suit, but they remain free to do so in their own suits. Pp. 8–10.
`
`
`(3) Finally, Deposit Guaranty Nat. Bank v. Roper, 445 U. S. 326,
`does not support respondent’s claim that the purposes served by the
`FLSA’s collective-action provisions would be frustrated by defend-
`ants’ use of Rule 68 to “pick off” named plaintiffs before the collective-
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`2
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`
`
`
`

`
`
`Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`
`Syllabus
`
`
`action process has run its course. In Roper, where the named plain-
`
`tiffs’ individual claims became moot after the District Court denied
`their Rule 23 class certification motion and entered judgment in their
`favor based on defendant’s offer of judgment, this Court found that
`
`the named plaintiffs could appeal the denial of certification because
`they possessed an ongoing, personal economic stake in the substan-
`tive controversy, namely, to shift a portion of attorney’s fees and ex-
`penses to successful class litigants. Here, respondent conceded that
`petitioners’ offer provided complete relief, and she asserted no con-
`tinuing economic interest in shifting attorney’s fees and costs. More-
`over, Roper was tethered to the unique significance of Rule 23 class
`certification decisions. Pp. 10–11.
`656 F. 3d 189, reversed.
`THOMAS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
`
`
`C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, and ALITO, JJ., joined. KAGAN, J., filed a
`
`
` dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ.,
`
`
`
`joined.
`
`
`
`3
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`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`1
`
`
` NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the
`
`
`
` preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to
`
` notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash-
`
` ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order
`
`
` that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
`
`
`
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`_________________
`
` No. 11–1059
`_________________
` GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORPORATION, ET AL.,
`
`
`PETITIONERS v. LAURA SYMCZYK
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
`
`[April 16, 2013]
`
`JUSTICE THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court.
`The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29
`
`U. S. C. §201 et seq., provides that an employee may bring
`an action to recover damages for specified violations of the
`Act on behalf of himself and other “similarly situated”
`employees. We granted certiorari to resolve whether such
`a case is justiciable when the lone plaintiff ’s individual
`claim becomes moot. 567 U. S. ___ (2012). We hold that it
`is not justiciable.
`
`
`
`
`I
`The FLSA establishes federal minimum-wage, maximum-
`
`hour, and overtime guarantees that cannot be modified
`by contract. Section 16(b) of the FLSA, 52 Stat. 1060, as
`
`amended, 29 U. S. C. §216(b), gives employees the right
`to bring a private cause of action on their own behalf and
`on behalf of “other employees similarly situated” for speci-
`fied violations of the FLSA. A suit brought on behalf of
`other employees is known as a “collective action.” See
`Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U. S. 165, 169–
`
`
`170 (1989).
`In 2009, respondent, who was formerly employed by
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`2
`
`
`
`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`petitioners as a registered nurse at Pennypack Center in
`Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, filed a complaint on behalf of
`herself and “all other persons similarly situated.” App.
`115–116. Respondent alleged that petitioners violated the
`FLSA by automatically deducting 30 minutes of time
`worked per shift for meal breaks for certain employees,
`even when the employees performed compensable work
`during those breaks. Respondent, who remained the sole
`plaintiff throughout these proceedings, sought statutory
`damages for the alleged violations.
`When petitioners answered the complaint, they simul-
`
`
`taneously served upon respondent an offer of judgment
`under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. The offer in-
`cluded $7,500 for alleged unpaid wages, in addition to
`“such reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses . . .
`
`Id., at 77. Petition-
`as the Court may determine.”
`
`ers stipulated that if respondent did not accept the offer
`within 10 days after service, the offer would be deemed
`
`withdrawn.
`
`After respondent failed to respond in the allotted time
`
`period, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
`subject-matter jurisdiction. Petitioners argued that be-
`cause they offered respondent complete relief on her indi-
`vidual damages claim, she no longer possessed a personal
`stake in the outcome of the suit, rendering the action
`moot. Respondent objected, arguing that petitioners were
`inappropriately attempting to “pick off ” the named plain-
`tiff before the collective-action process could unfold. Id., at
`91.
`The District Court found that it was undisputed that no
`
`
`other individuals had joined respondent’s suit and that the
`Rule 68 offer of judgment fully satisfied her individual
`claim. It concluded that petitioners’ Rule 68 offer of judg-
`ment mooted respondent’s suit, which it dismissed for lack
`of subject-matter jurisdiction.
`The Court of Appeals reversed. 656 F. 3d 189 (CA3
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`2011). The court agreed that no other potential plaintiff
`had opted into the suit, that petitioners’ offer fully satis-
`fied respondent’s individual claim, and that, under its
`precedents, whether or not such an offer is accepted, it
`generally moots a plaintiff ’s claim. Id., at 195. But the
`court nevertheless held that respondent’s collective action
`was not moot. It explained that calculated attempts by
`some defendants to “pick off ” named plaintiffs with stra-
`tegic Rule 68 offers before certification could short circuit
`the process, and, thereby, frustrate the goals of collective
`actions. Id., at 196–198. The court determined that the
`case must be remanded in order to allow respondent to
`seek “conditional certification”1 in the District Court. If
`respondent were successful, the District Court was to
`relate the certification motion back to the date on which
`respondent filed her complaint.2 Ibid.
`
`
`II
`
`Article III, §2, of the Constitution limits the jurisdiction
`
`of federal courts to “Cases” and “Controversies,” which
`——————
` 1Lower courts have borrowed class-action terminology to describe the
`
`process of joining co-plaintiffs under 29 U. S. C. §216(b). While we do
`not express an opinion on the propriety of this use of class-action
`nomenclature, we do note that there are significant differences between
`certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and the joinder
`process under §216(b).
`
` 2The “relation back” doctrine was developed in the context of class
`actions under Rule 23 to address the circumstance in which a named
`plaintiff’s claim becomes moot prior to certification of the class. This
`case raises two circumstances in which the Court has applied this
`doctrine. First, where a named plaintiff’s claim is “inherently transi-
`tory,” and becomes moot prior to certification, a motion for certification
`may “relate back” to the filing of the complaint. See, e.g., County of
`Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U. S. 44, 51–52 (1991). Second, we have
`held that where a certification motion is denied and a named plaintiff’s
`claim subsequently becomes moot, an appellate reversal of the certifica-
`tion decision may relate back to the time of the denial. See United
`
`States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U. S. 388, 404 (1980).
`
`
`
`3
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`restricts the authority of federal courts to resolving “‘the
`legal rights of litigants in actual controversies,’” Valley
`
`Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separa-
`
`tion of Church and State, Inc., 454 U. S. 464, 471 (1982)
`
`(quoting Liverpool, New York & Philadelphia S. S. Co. v.
`Commissioners of Emigration, 113 U. S. 33, 39 (1885)). In
`order to invoke federal-court jurisdiction, a plaintiff must
`demonstrate that he possesses a legally cognizable inter-
`est, or “‘personal stake,’” in the outcome of the action. See
`Camreta v. Greene, 563 U. S. ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 5)
`(quoting Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U. S. 488,
`493 (2009)). This requirement ensures that the Federal
`Judiciary confines itself to its constitutionally limited role
`of adjudicating actual and concrete disputes, the resolu-
`tions of which have direct consequences on the parties
`involved.
`
`A corollary to this case-or-controversy requirement is
`that “‘an actual controversy must be extant at all stages of
`review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed.’”
`
`Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U. S. 43, 67
`
`(1997) (quoting Preiser v. Newkirk, 422 U. S. 395, 401
`If an intervening circumstance deprives the
`(1975)).
`plaintiff of a “personal stake in the outcome of the law-
`suit,” at any point during litigation, the action can no
`longer proceed and must be dismissed as moot. Lewis v.
`Continental Bank Corp., 494 U. S. 472, 477–478 (1990)
`(internal quotation marks omitted).
`
`In the proceedings below, both courts concluded that
`petitioners’ Rule 68 offer afforded respondent complete
`relief on—and thus mooted—her FLSA claim. See 656
`F. 3d, at 201; No. 09–5782, 2010 WL 2038676, *4 (ED Pa.,
`May 19, 2010). Respondent now contends that these
`rulings were erroneous, because petitioners’ Rule 68 offer
`lapsed without entry of judgment. Brief for Respondent
`12–16. The United States, as amicus curiae, similarly
`
`urges the Court to hold that petitioners’ unaccepted offer
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`4
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`5
`
`
`Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`did not moot her FLSA claim and to affirm the Court of
`Appeals on this basis. Brief for United States 10–15.
`
`While the Courts of Appeals disagree whether an un-
`
`accepted offer that fully satisfies a plaintiff ’s claim is
`sufficient to render the claim moot,3 we do not reach this
`
`question, or resolve the split, because the issue is not
`properly before us. The Third Circuit clearly held in this
`case that respondent’s individual claim was moot. 656
`F. 3d, at 201. Acceptance of respondent’s argument to the
`contrary now would alter the Court of Appeals’ judgment,
`which is impermissible in the absence of a cross-petition
`from respondent. See Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. County of
`Kent, 510 U. S. 355, 364 (1994); Trans World Airlines, Inc.
`v. Thurston, 469 U. S. 111, 119, n. 14 (1985). Moreover,
`even if the cross-petition rule did not apply, respondent’s
`waiver of the issue would still prevent us from reaching it.
`In the District Court, respondent conceded that “[a]n offer
`of complete relief will generally moot the [plaintiff ’s]
`claim, as at that point the plaintiff retains no personal
`interest in the outcome of the litigation.” App. 93; 2010
`
`WL 2038676, at *4. Respondent made a similar conces-
`sion in her brief to the Court of Appeals, see App. 193, and
`failed to raise the argument in her brief in opposition to
`the petition for certiorari. We, therefore, assume, without
`deciding, that petitioners’ Rule 68 offer mooted respond-
`ent’s individual claim. See Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U. S. 27,
`34 (2004).
`
`
`
`
`
`
`III
`
`We turn, then, to the question whether respondent’s
`action remained justiciable based on the collective-action
`allegations in her complaint. A straightforward applica-
`tion of well-settled mootness principles compels our an-
`——————
`
` 3Compare, e.g., Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F. 3d 337, 340 (CA3
`
` 2004), with McCauley v. Trans Union, LLC, 402 F. 3d 340, 342 (CA2
`
`
`
`2005).
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`swer. In the absence of any claimant’s opting in, respond-
`ent’s suit became moot when her individual claim became
`moot, because she lacked any personal interest in repre-
`senting others in this action. While the FLSA authorizes
`an aggrieved employee to bring an action on behalf of
`himself and “other employees similarly situated,” 29
`U. S. C. §216(b), the mere presence of collective-action
`allegations in the complaint cannot save the suit from
`mootness once the individual claim is satisfied.4 In order
`
`to avoid this outcome, respondent relies almost entirely
`upon cases that arose in the context of Federal Rule of
`Civil Procedure 23 class actions, particularly United
`States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U. S. 388 (1980);
`Deposit Guaranty Nat. Bank v. Roper, 445 U. S. 326
`
`(1980); and Sosna v. Iowa, 419 U. S. 393 (1975). But these
`
`cases are inapposite, both because Rule 23 actions are
`fundamentally different from collective actions under the
`FLSA, see Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., 493 U. S., at 177–178
`(SCALIA, J., dissenting), and because these cases are, by
`their own terms, inapplicable to these facts. It follows
`that this action was appropriately dismissed as moot.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`6
`
`
`——————
`4While we do not resolve the question whether a Rule 68 offer that
`
`
` fully satisfies the plaintiff’s claims is sufficient by itself to moot the
` action, supra, at 5, we note that Courts of Appeals on both sides of that
`
`
`
` issue have recognized that a plaintiff’s claim may be satisfied even
`
`without the plaintiff’s consent. Some courts maintain that an unac-
`cepted offer of complete relief alone is sufficient to moot the individual’s
`
`claim. E.g., Weiss, supra, at 340; Greisz v. Household Bank (Ill.), N. A.,
`
`
`176 F. 3d 1012, 1015 (CA7 1999). Other courts have held that, in the
`face of an unaccepted offer of complete relief, district courts may “enter
`
`
`judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with the defendants’
`
`
`Rule 68 offer of judgment.” O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575
`
`
`F. 3d 567, 575 (CA6 2009); see also McCauley v. Trans Union, LLC, 402
`
`F. 3d 340, 342 (CA2 2005). Contrary to the dissent’s assertion, see post,
`at 8 (opinion of Kagan, J.), nothing in the nature of FLSA actions
`precludes satisfaction—and thus the mooting—of the individual’s claim
`before the collective-action component of the suit has run its course.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
` Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`
`A
`
`
`Respondent contends that she has a sufficient personal
`stake in this case based on a statutorily created collective-
`action interest in representing other similarly situated
`employees under §216(b). Brief for Respondent 47–48. In
`support of her argument, respondent cites our decision in
`Geraghty, which in turn has its roots in Sosna. Neither
`case supports her position.
`In Sosna, the Court held that a class action is not ren-
`
`dered moot when the named plaintiff ’s individual claim
`becomes moot after the class has been duly certified. 419
`U. S., at 399. The Court reasoned that when a district
`court certifies a class, “the class of unnamed persons
`described in the certification acquire[s] a legal status
`separate from the interest asserted by [the named plain-
`tiff],” with the result that a live controversy may continue
`to exist, even after the claim of the named plaintiff be-
`comes moot. Id., at 399–402. Geraghty narrowly extended
`
`this principle to denials of class certification motions. The
`Court held that where an action would have acquired the
`independent legal status described in Sosna but for the
`district court’s erroneous denial of class certification, a
`corrected ruling on appeal “relates back” to the time of the
`erroneous denial of the certification motion. 445 U. S., at
`404, and n. 11.
` Geraghty is inapposite, because the Court explicitly
`limited its holding to cases in which the named plaintiff ’s
`claim remains live at the time the district court denies
`class certification. See id., at 407, n. 11. Here, respondent
`had not yet moved for “conditional certification” when her
`claim became moot, nor had the District Court anticipa-
`torily ruled on any such request. Her claim instead became
`moot prior to these events, foreclosing any recourse to
`Geraghty. There is simply no certification decision to
`
`which respondent’s claim could have related back.
`
`
`More fundamentally, essential to our decisions in Sosna
`
`
`
`
`
`7
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`and Geraghty was the fact that a putative class acquires
`an independent legal status once it is certified under Rule
`23. Under the FLSA, by contrast, “conditional certifica-
`tion” does not produce a class with an independent legal
`status, or join additional parties to the action. The sole
`consequence of conditional certification is the sending of
`court-approved written notice to employees, see Hoffmann-
`La Roche Inc., supra, at 171–172, who in turn become
`parties to a collective action only by filing written con-
`sent with the court, §216(b). So even if respondent were
`to secure a conditional certification ruling on remand,
`nothing in that ruling would preserve her suit from
`
`mootness.
`
`
`
`8
`
`
`B
`
`Respondent also advances an argument based on a
`
`separate, but related, line of cases in which the Court held
`that an “inherently transitory” class-action claim is not
`necessarily moot upon the termination of the named plain-
`tiff ’s claim. Like our decision in Geraghty, this line of
`
`cases began with Sosna and is similarly inapplicable here.
`
`
`After concluding that the expiration of a named plain-
`tiff ’s claim following certification does not moot the class
`
`action, Sosna suggested that, where a named plaintiff’s
`
`
`individual claim becomes moot before the district court
`has an opportunity to rule on the certification motion, and
`the issue would otherwise evade review, the certification
`might “relate back” to the filing of the complaint. 419
`U. S., at 402, n. 11. The Court has since held that the
`
`relation-back doctrine may apply in Rule 23 cases where it
`is “certain that other persons similarly situated” will
`
`continue to be subject to the challenged conduct and the
`
`claims raised are “‘so inherently transitory that the trial
`
`court will not have even enough time to rule on a motion
`for class certification before the proposed representative’s
`
`individual interest expires.’” County of Riverside v.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`9
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`Opinion of the Court
`McLaughlin, 500 U. S. 44, 52 (1991) (quoting Geraghty,
`
`supra, at 399), in turn citing Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U. S.
`103, 110, n. 11 (1975)). Invoking this doctrine, respondent
`argues that defendants can strategically use Rule 68 offers
`to “pick off ” named plaintiffs before the collective-action
`process is complete, rendering collective actions “inher-
`ently transitory” in effect. Brief for Respondent 37.
`
`Our cases invoking the “inherently transitory” relation-
`back rationale do not apply. The “inherently transitory”
`rationale was developed to address circumstances in which
`the challenged conduct was effectively unreviewable,
`because no plaintiff possessed a personal stake in the suit
`long enough for litigation to run its course. A plaintiff
`might seek, for instance, to bring a class action challeng-
`
`ing the constitutionality of temporary pretrial detentions.
`In doing so, the named plaintiff would face the considera-
`
`ble challenge of preserving his individual claim from
`mootness, since pretrial custody likely would end prior to
`the resolution of his claim. See Gerstein, supra. To ad-
`dress this problem, the Court explained that in cases
`where the transitory nature of the conduct giving rise to
`the suit would effectively insulate defendants’ conduct
`from review, certification could potentially “relate back” to
`the filing of the complaint. Id., at 110, n. 11; McLaughlin,
`supra, at 52. But this doctrine has invariably focused on
`the fleeting nature of the challenged conduct giving rise to
`the claim, not on the defendant’s litigation strategy. See,
`
`e.g., Swisher v. Brady, 438 U. S. 204, 214, n. 11 (1978);
`Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U. S. 1, 17–18 (1998).
`
`
`In this case, respondent’s complaint requested statutory
`damages. Unlike claims for injunctive relief challenging
`ongoing conduct, a claim for damages cannot evade re-
`view; it remains live until it is settled, judicially resolved,
`or barred by a statute of limitations. Nor can a defend-
`ant’s attempt to obtain settlement insulate such a claim
`
`from review, for a full settlement offer addresses plaintiff ’s
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
` 10
`
`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`alleged harm by making the plaintiff whole. While set-
`tlement may have the collateral effect of foreclosing un-
`joined claimants from having their rights vindicated in
`respondent’s suit, such putative plaintiffs remain free to
`vindicate their rights in their own suits. They are no less
`able to have their claims settled or adjudicated following
`respondent’s suit than if her suit had never been filed at
`all.
`
`
`
`
`C
`
`Finally, respondent argues that the purposes served
`by the FLSA’s collective-action provisions—for example,
`efficient resolution of common claims and lower individual
`costs associated with litigation—would be frustrated by
`defendants’ use of Rule 68 to “pick off ” named plaintiffs
`before the collective-action process has run its course.
`Both respondent and the Court of Appeals purported to
`find support for this position in our decision in Roper, 445
`U. S., at 339.
`In Roper, the named plaintiffs’ individual claims became
`
`moot after the District Court denied their motion for class
`certification under Rule 23 and subsequently entered
`judgment in their favor, based on the defendant bank’s
`offer of judgment for the maximum recoverable amount of
`damages, in addition to interest and court costs. Id., at
`329–330. The Court held that even though the District
`Court had entered judgment in the named plaintiffs’ favor,
`they could nevertheless appeal the denial of their motion
`to certify the class. The Court found that, under the par-
`ticular circumstances of that case, the named plaintiffs
`possessed an ongoing, personal economic stake in the
`substantive controversy—namely, to shift a portion of
`
`attorney’s fees and expenses to successful class litigants.5
`——————
`5Because Roper is distinguishable on the facts, we need not consider
`its continuing validity in light of our subsequent decision in Lewis v.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`11
`
`
`Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`
`Opinion of the Court
`Id., at 332–334, and n. 6. Only then, in dicta, did the
`Court underscore the importance of a district court’s class
`certification decision and observe that allowing defendants
`to “‘pic[k] off’” party plaintiffs before an affirmative ruling
`was achieved “would frustrate the objectives of class ac-
`tions.” Id., at 339.
`
`Roper’s holding turned on a specific factual finding that
`the plaintiffs’ possessed a continuing personal economic
`stake in the litigation, even after the defendants’ offer of
`judgment. Id., at 336. As already explained, here, re-
`spondent conceded that petitioners’ offer “provided com-
`plete relief on her individual claims,” Brief in Opposition i,
`and she failed to assert any continuing economic interest
`in shifting attorney’s fees and costs to others. Moreover,
`Roper’s dictum was tethered to the unique significance of
`certification decisions in class-action proceedings. 445
`U. S., at 339. Whatever significance “conditional certifica-
`tion” may have in §216(b) proceedings, it is not tanta-
`mount to class certification under Rule 23.
`
`
`*
`*
`*
`
`The Court of Appeals concluded that respondent’s indi-
`vidual claim became moot following petitioners’ Rule 68
`offer of judgment. We have assumed, without deciding,
`
`that this is correct.
`
`Reaching the question on which we granted certiorari,
`we conclude that respondent has no personal interest in
`representing putative, unnamed claimants, nor any other
`continuing interest that would preserve her suit from
`mootness. Respondent’s suit was, therefore, appropriately
`dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`——————
`
`Continental Bank Corp., 494 U. S. 472 (1990). See id., at 480 (“[An]
`
`
`interest in attorney’s fees is, of course, insufficient to create an Article
`
`III case or controversy where none exists on the merits of the underly-
`ing claim”).
`
`
`
`
`

`
`
` 12
`
`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`Opinion of the Court
`The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Third
`
`Circuit is reversed.
`
`
`It is so ordered.
`
`
`
`

`
`
`
`
`
` Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013)
`
`KAGAN, J., dissenting
`
`SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
`
`1
`
`_________________
`
` No. 11–1059
`_________________
` GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORPORATION, ET AL.,
`
`
`
`PETITIONERS v. LAURA SYMCZYK
`
`ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF
`
`
`APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
`
`[April 16, 2013]
`
`JUSTICE KAGAN, with whom JUSTICE GINSBURG,
`join,
`JUSTICE BREYER, and JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR
`dissenting.
`The Court today resolves an imaginary question, based
`
`on a mistake the courts below made about this case and
`others like it. The issue here, the majority tells us, is
`whether a “‘collective action’” brought under the Fair
`
`Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U. S. C. §201
`et seq., “is justiciable when the lone plaintiff’s individual
`claim becomes moot.” Ante, at 1. Embedded within that
`
`question is a crucial premise: that the individual claim has
`
`
`become moot, as the lower courts held and the majority
`assumes without deciding. But what if that premise is
`
`bogus? What if the plaintiff’s individual claim here never
`became moot? And what if, in addition, no similar claim
`for damages will ever become moot? In that event, the
`majority’s decision—founded as it is on an unfounded
`assumption—would have no real-world meaning or appli­
`cation. The decision would turn out to be the most one-off
`of one-offs, explaining only what (the majority thinks)
`should happen to a proposed collective FLSA action when
`something that in fact never happens to an individual
`FLSA claim is errantly thought to have done so. That is
`the case here, for reasons I’ll describe. Feel free to rele­
`gate the majority’s decision to the furthest reaches of your
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`
`

`
`GENESIS HEALTHCARE CORP. v. SYMCZYK
`
`KAGAN, J., dissenting
`
`mind: The situation it addresses should never again arise.
`
`Consider the facts of this case, keeping an eye out for
`anything that would render any part of it moot. Respond­
`ent Laura Symczyk brought suit under a provision of the
`FLSA, 29 U. S. C. §216(b), “on behalf of herself and others
`similarly situated.” App. 21. Her complaint alleged
`that her former employer, petitioner Genesis Healthcare
`Corporation (Genesis), violated the FLSA by treating
`
`30 minutes of every shift as an unpaid meal break, even
`when an employee worked during that time. Genesis
`answered the complaint and simultaneously made an offer
`of judgment

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