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Category Archives: Ascertainability

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

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification

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

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification

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

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

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Predominance, Typicality

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

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

Posted in Antitrust, Ascertainability, Class Certification

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

Third Circuit Rulings Give Teeth to Ascertainability Requirement for Class Certification

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Numerosity, Superiority

The “ascertainability” requirement for class certification is a crucial safeguard for both defendants and absent class members. There is some debate about its origin: some courts have held that it is implicit in Rule 23 that class members must be readily identifiable; others find ascertainability to be rooted in Rule 23(a)(1)’s numerosity mandate or Rule… Continue Reading

Federal Court Grants Motion to Strike Class Allegations in TCPA Case

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Motions Practice

We’re big fans of filing an early motion to strike class allegations when it’s apparent from the pleadings that the class definition is fatally flawed. Why should a defendant be forced to submit to the wringer of class discovery before taking a swing at defeating class certification? A recent case involving Office Depot illustrates the… Continue Reading

Expelliarmus! Eleventh Circuit Disarms False-Advertising Class Action Against Makers of Fantasy Video Game

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Predominance

Plaintiffs who wish to bring product-liability and consumer-fraud class actions against businesses often overreach when defining the proposed class in order to raise the stakes—and hence the settlement pressure—on the defendant.  A recent unpublished decision by the Eleventh Circuit, Walewski v. Zenimax Media, Inc. (pdf), No. 12-11843, is yet another example of the growing consensus rejecting… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Upholds “Provisional” Class Certification for Entry of a Preliminary Injunction in TCPA Class Action

Posted in Adequacy, Ascertainability, Class Certification, Rule 23(b)(2)

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in a TCPA case—Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Associates (pdf)—involves several interesting issues for class-action practitioners even outside the TCPA setting. First, a bit of background. In Meyer, the plaintiff sued a debt collector under the TCPA, alleging that it used an autodialer to call his cell phone number impermissibly. The plaintiff… Continue Reading