A lawsuit claiming workers' privacy rights were violated by secret videotaping at IBP's Joslin plant will not proceed as a class-action lawsuit.
Chief District Court Judge Michael Mihm ruled Thursday there were not enough plaintiffs to warrant class-action status. However, Judge Mihm said the issue could be revisited if plaintiffs' attorney Rob Leyshon found information of additional IBP workers affected by the lawsuit.
The lawsuit against the world's largest meatpacking company was filed in November. The case alleges the privacy rights of IBP workers were violated when a video camera hidden in a nurse manager's office in the Joslin plant's health services department recorded patient treatments.
Before Judge Mihm's decision, Mr. Leyshon argued the 30 workers identified in the suit should be enough to warrant class-action status.
IBP's attorney, Arthur Eggers, argued the number was too low.
As a result of Thursday's ruling, Mr. Leyshon will file an amended complaint naming each of the identified plaintiffs, he said after the hearing. Mr. Leyshon said the ruling did not affect the core of the case, and may, in fact, have helped it.
``This is not a blow at all,'' Mr. Leyshon said. ``All it means is the jury can consider each person's story and find different rulings (at the end of the case).''
IBP spokesman Gary Mickelson said the company was pleased with the ruling.
``We're pleased with the judge's ruling,'' Mr. Mickelson said, ``and remain confident the individual cases will be dismissed.''