In a recent article by Bloomberg, Balch & Bingham’s Tashwanda Pinchback Dixon, partner and member of the Labor & Employment Practice, provided insight into the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and what might ahead for Tyson Foods Inc. as they appear before the Eighth Circuit in suits alleging they mishandled a COVID-19 outbreak at their Iowa plant.
In speaking to reporter Fatima Hussein, Tashwanda reflected that “the federal jury selection process tends to result in jurors more favorable to corporations, who are not as likely to succumb to their own emotions.” Tyson Foods Inc. is set to argue that its Iowa facility stayed open during the peak of the pandemic pursuant to President Trump’s executive order and that the suits should stay in federal court. A win would allow the company to avoid having to go to trial before a Waterloo, Iowa, jury.
An adverse ruling from the Eighth Circuit could diminish the company’s federal officer defense, Tashwanda advised. She went onto say, “in a way, that may be the Eighth Circuit’s way of giving its opinion of how successful the company may be on that claim,” she said. “If it’s about interpreting federal law, federal courts tend to want to keep it in federal court.”
Tashwanda is a trial lawyer who has successfully resolved a wide variety of labor and employment disputes as well as providing employment counseling and crisis management assistance. Tashwanda represents management in both union and nonunion settings in the litigation of federal and state employment and labor law claims, with a particular focus on workplace occupational safety and health administration (OSHA).