Category Archives: Class Certification

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Supreme Court To Decide Whether To Hear Four High-Stakes Cases Asking When A Suit May Be Litigated As A Class Action

The Supreme Court will decide before the end of this Term whether to hear any or all of four important cases that raise recurring questions of class action law that have sharply divided the lower courts. These cases address questions that we have blogged about before (e.g., here and here): whether a class full of … Continue Reading

Did The Ninth Circuit Just Give Plaintiffs—But Not Defendants—An Automatic Appeal From Class Certification Orders?

[Editors’ note:  Today we’re featuring a guest post by Tim Fielden, who is in-house counsel at Microsoft.  His post spotlights an emerging—and important—issue in class-action litigation.] In two recent decisions, the Ninth Circuit has carved out a new path for plaintiffs seeking immediate review of the denial of class certification: voluntarily dismiss the complaint under … Continue Reading

New Oregon class-action law purports to seize unclaimed damages for legal aid and judge-picked charities

The first bill signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown—H.B. 2700 (pdf)—changes the rules for handling payment of damages awards in class actions in Oregon state courts. Effective immediately, including for pending actions, the new law attempts to redirect unclaimed damages under class-action settlements or judgments to the state bar’s legal aid program and to charities … Continue Reading

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Files Amicus Brief on Ascertainability in Key Ninth Circuit Case

As readers of our blog know, ascertainability is one of the most contentious issues in class action litigation these days.  Ascertainability is the main issue presented in Jones v. ConAgra Foods, No. 14-16327, a pending Ninth Circuit case in which the plaintiff and his amici have mounted a full-scale attack on whether the ascertainability requirement … Continue Reading

Despite Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes, Ninth Circuit approves statistical sampling to prove that an “unofficial” common policy exists

There seem to be two prevailing conceptions of class actions.  In one view, a class action is a way of determining many similar claims at once by evaluating common evidence that reliably establishes liability (and lays a ground work for efficiently calculating damages) for each class member.  That is, the class device produces the same … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit puts teeth into ascertainability, commonality, and predominance requirements for class certification

Sometimes it’s hard to know who’s in a class without substantial individualized inquiries.  Can a court certify a class of persons with allegedly similar injuries by pigeonholing the question of class membership as a question of damages to be determined later?  Not so fast, the Fourth Circuit held in EQT Production Co. v. Adair (pdf).  A class … Continue Reading

Why The Supreme Court’s Decision in Halliburton Is Bad News For Investors And The Public

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Halliburton case leaves the securities class action system pretty much unchanged. And that isn’t because the Supreme Court examined the system and concluded it is working well and makes sense.  Instead,  the Court simply didn’t address those questions. That’s very good news for the lawyers who make their living … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Refuses To Overturn Fraud-On-The-Market Presumption, But Adjusts Presumption To Allow Evidence of Absence Of “Price Impact” At Class Certification Stage

The securities class action industry was launched a quarter-century ago when the Supreme Court recognized the so-called “fraud-on-the-market” presumption of reliance in most putative securities class actions.  The result has been that—despite Congressional efforts at securities litigation reform—most securities class actions that survive the pleadings stage are likely to achieve class certification, forcing defendants to … Continue Reading

California Court Says No Need To Resolve Disputes Over Substantive Law In Evaluating Whether Class Can Be Certified

Suppose that you’re a trial court considering a motion for class certification.  And suppose that the parties present you with two competing statutory interpretations.  One legal standard permits the case to be adjudicated with common evidence.  And the other standard would require  individualized inquiries.  What should you do?  Should you decide what the law is … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rejects Exceptionally Poor Sampling Method, But Leaves Open Many Questions About Sampling And Class Certification

In Duran v. U.S. Bank N.A. (pdf), the California Supreme Court recently addressed an important question in the context of state-court class actions: Can plaintiffs invoke statistical sampling in an attempt to prove class-wide liability and overcome the presence of individual questions that ordinarily would defeat class certification? The court’s answer to that question is a … Continue Reading

More Thoughts On Ascertainability And Why It Matters In Deciding Whether To Certify A Class Action

Can you have a class action if you can’t figure out who’s in the proposed class? According to many in the plaintiffs’ bar, the answer is “yes.” But as we have discussed in prior blog posts, there is an emerging consensus to the contrary. Most courts agree that plaintiffs in consumer class actions have the … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rejects Effort At End Run Around The Ascertainability Requirement

We previously wrote about the Third Circuit’s decision in Carrera v. Bayer Corp., which reversed a district court’s class-certification order because there was no reliable way to ascertain class membership—indeed, no way to identify who was a member of the class aside from a class member’s own say-so. Last week, the full Third Circuit denied (pdf) the … Continue Reading

Class-Action Plaintiffs Must Offer Evidence Showing That They Meet Class-Certification Requirements

A recent decision denying certification of a securities-fraud class action underscores that plaintiffs must prove with evidence that they satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, not merely allege that they do so or promise that they can. The decision in In re Kosmos Energy Limited Securities Litigation arose from a class action … Continue Reading

Use the “Consumer” in Consumer Class Actions to Defeat Certification

Plaintiffs routinely bring consumer class actions under statutes that allow only consumers—not businesses—to bring claims, or that are limited to transactions solely for personal or household purposes. See, e.g., Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693a(2); Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2606(a)(1); California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civ. Code § … Continue Reading

En Banc Ninth Circuit Demands That Courts Serve As Gatekeepers For Expert Testimony—Will That Rule Be Extended to Class Actions?

In the battle over class certification, expert testimony proffered by both plaintiffs and defendants is playing an increasingly important role. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether the test for admissibility of expert testimony announced in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals applies at the class-certification stage, although it has certainly dropped hints to that … Continue Reading

Two Washer Cases Provide the Supreme Court with Its Best Opportunity Since Wal-Mart v. Dukes to Make Sense of Class-Certification Standards

At its conference on January 10, the Supreme Court can get serious about fixing consumer class actions. The Justices should take up that challenge, because it will consider two certiorari petitions that seek review of class certifications—involving alleged “moldy odors” in high-tech front loading washing machines—that are prime examples of what has gone wrong with … Continue Reading

Recent Appellate Decisions Underscore That Wage and Hour Class Actions are Alive and Well in California Despite Brinker

Some observers of California wage-and-hour class actions contended that the Brinker v. Superior Court—a key decision we have discussed in the past—had sounded the death knell for class certification in those cases. of California wage and hour class actions. Not so fast, according to the California Courts of Appeal, which have, in four published opinions, … Continue Reading

Floodgates to New York Telemarketing Class Actions Under the TCPA Are Open, Says Second Circuit

Just in time for the holidays, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Bank v. Independence Energy Group LLC has dropped a lump of coal in the business community’s stocking. In this case, the “lump of coal” is an open door to class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in federal courts in New York. … Continue Reading

The Fate of Hollywood Internship Programs May Rest With the Second Circuit

Former interns used to get revenge against their employers by writing tell-all blog posts and memoirs. Now, they’re lending their names to plaintiffs’ lawyers, who then file wage-and-hour class or collective actions alleging that interns must be paid like hourly employees. The unpaid internship is among the hottest areas in wage-and-hour litigation. Two of the … Continue Reading

O Canada: New Ground Rules For Class Certification in Antitrust Cases North Of The Border

While the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals have in recent years demanded rigorous scrutiny before authorizing certification of class actions, the Supreme Court of Canada has charted a different course. In a trio of recent decisions in antitrust class actions, Canada’s high court rejected key U.S. precedents on the scope and nature … Continue Reading

Twelve Amici Join Mayer Brown in Seeking Supreme Court Review of Front-Loading Washer Cases

As I have previously blogged, my colleagues and I have filed certiorari petitions in two significant cases affecting class-action litigation, Sears Roebuck & Co. v. Butler (pdf) and Whirlpool Corp. v. Glazer (pdf). The petitions challenge decisions that bless broad class actions on behalf of largely uninjured purchasers of front-loading washing machines whose product-defect claims … Continue Reading

The Seventh Circuit’s Unique Approach To Handling Rule 23(f) Petitions

We recently noted that the Ninth Circuit had granted a Rule 23(f) petition in Chen v. Allstate Insurance Co.—on the issue whether a named plaintiff can refuse an offer of judgment for full relief and persist in litigating a class action—and was expected to issue a briefing schedule soon. Leaving aside the substance of the … Continue Reading

Mayer Brown Files Cert Petitions In Front-Loading Washer Cases

Today, Mayer Brown filed a pair of certiorari petitions that challenge efforts by two federal appellate courts to narrow the Supreme Court’s recent class-action decisions in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes to tickets good for a single ride only. The Supreme Court previously remanded both cases for reconsideration after Comcast, … Continue Reading
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