Archives: Class Certification Standards

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Gorsuch on Class Actions: How Might He Compare to Scalia?

Justice Scalia made major contributions to class action law,  writing the Supreme Court’s opinions in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, two of the Court’s most significant class action decisions in this decade.  Following President Trump’s nomination of Tenth Circuit Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to replace Justice Scalia, although it may … Continue Reading

Ascertainability Not Required In Ninth Circuit, But Manageability Remains

One of the first significant class action appellate decisions of 2017 was issued this week. In Briseno v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., No. 15-55727 (9th Cir. Jan. 3, 2017), the Ninth Circuit held that Rule 23 does not require that it be “administratively feasible” to identify class members in order for a class to be certified. … Continue Reading

Spokeo v. Robins Supreme Court Opinion: What Is Concrete Harm?

Today the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, addressing whether the plaintiff had standing to sue in a putative class action brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Like some other opinions we have seen from the eight-member Court following Justice Scalia’s death, this decision is relatively narrow in … Continue Reading

Tyson Foods Supreme Court Opinion Addresses Statistical Evidence in Class Actions

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, addressing the use of statistical evidence in class actions. The plaintiffs’ bar will undoubtedly claim the decision as a victory because class certification was upheld. But I don’t think that’s right. The decision (a  6-2 opinion by Justice Kennedy, with Justices Thomas and … Continue Reading

How Will Justice Scalia’s Death Impact Pending Class Action Cases?

As our nation and especially the legal community mourn the death of one of the most charismatic and influential Supreme Court justices in our history, one question that might be asked is how Justice Scalia’s death might impact pending class action cases. There are two pending class action cases of broad significance: Spokeo, Inc. v. … Continue Reading

Ascertainability in Class Actions: Second Circuit Weighs In

Ascertainability has been a hot topic in class action appeals recently. The Third Circuit recently clarified its ascertainability standard (see my April 20 blog post). The committee considering potential Rule 23 amendments is exploring adding an explicit ascertainability requirement to the rule. (My fellow class action blogger Paul Karlsgodt just posted a great summary of … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide Class Action Issues Involving Settlement Offers to Named Plaintiffs, Statistical Sampling and Class Member Standing Issues Next Term

I’ve been delayed a bit in reporting on this, but the October 2015 term of the U.S. Supreme Court is shaping up to be a blockbuster one for class action law. Perhaps even bigger than the October 2010 term, which brought us Wal-Mart v. Dukes, Smith v. Bayer Corp. and AT&T v. Concepcion. I previously … Continue Reading

Use of Expert Testimony at Class Certification Stage Addressed By Third Circuit

The Third Circuit recently joined the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits in holding that, where a Daubert challenge is made to the use of expert testimony in support of class certification, the Daubert challenge must be resolved at that stage. The Third Circuit explained that “[e]xpert testimony that is insufficiently reliable to satisfy the Daubert … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Clarifies Its Ascertainability Standard

Ascertainability is an implied requirement for class certification, not expressly addressed in Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. While there are different formulations of the requirement, in essence it requires that there be an adequate method for ascertaining who the class members (as defined by the class definition) are, without conducting trials for that purpose. Ascertainability … Continue Reading

Comcast, Superiority, Predominance and Injunctive Relief Addressed in Recent Second Circuit Class Certification Opinions

The Second Circuit recently addressed a panoply of class certification issues in two opinions. Both decisions ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but will help defendants tailor their arguments in future cases. Roach v. T.L. Cannon Group, No. 13-3070-cv, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2054 (2d Cir. Feb. 10, 2015) addressed whether the Supreme Court’s decision … Continue Reading

Can A Certified Class Include Uninjured Parties? First Circuit Majority Says “Yes,” In Some Instances

One of the “hot” issues in class actions today is whether, or to what extent, a class can be defined to include members who were not injured, and do not have standing to sue. The First Circuit recently addressed this in a 2-1 decision, concluding that “class certification is permissible even if the class includes … Continue Reading

Statistical Sampling in Class Actions Addressed By California Supreme Court

Back in February of 2012, I wrote a blog post about a California Court of Appeal decision addressing the use of statistical sampling in class actions.  The California Supreme Court recently granted review and affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision that the trial court improperly allowed the case to be tried based on statistical evidence … Continue Reading

Declaratory Relief in Insurance Class Actions: Certification Denied Because Putative Class Members Lacked Standing

A recent trend in insurance class actions (and class actions generally) has been for plaintiffs to bring cases seeking primarily or exclusively declaratory relief.  This is because of a perception that Rule 23(b)(2) classes (seeking declaratory or injunctive relief) are easier to certify than Rule 23(b)(3) classes, which require predominance of common issues of law … Continue Reading

Ohio Supreme Court Finds Class Certification Inappropriate in Insurance Class Action

The Ohio Supreme Court recently issued an opinion reversing the certification of a class in a case against State Farm involving repair vs. replacement of windshields on auto claims.  In Cullen v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., 2013 Ohio 4733 (Ohio Nov. 5, 2013), the plaintiffs alleged that State Farm had a practice of … Continue Reading

Class Action With Small Stakes And Potential Cy Pres Remedy Addressed By Seventh Circuit

Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit, a prolific writer of class action opinions in recent years, recently wrote a new decision addressing whether a class action with small stakes could properly be decertified.  The decision includes some extensive commentary on how such a case might be resolved.  Notably, this was a case where the defendant … Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s Vacate Orders Suggest Breadth of New Comcast v. Behrend Opinion

On April 1, the Supreme Court issued “GVR” (grant, vacate and remand) orders in two cases, summarily instructing the courts of appeals to reconsider their prior decisions in light of the Court’s recent Comcast Corp. v. Behrend decision.   The opinions that were vacated and remanded were Ross v. RBS Citizens, NA, 667 F.3d 900 (7th … Continue Reading
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