An important and recurring issue in class actions is whether a district court must consider particular merits issues when deciding whether to certify a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Today, in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend (pdf), No. 11-864, the Supreme Court reversed the certification of an antitrust class action because the

A number of courts recently have weighed in on a question we’ve blogged before—whether lawsuits by state attorneys general seeking restitution on behalf of private citizens are subject to removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (pdf) (“CAFA”). These rulings have broad implications for the litigation of these quasi-class actions.  They also are of substantial importance to determining whether securities fraud actions filed by state attorneys general are precluded by the federal Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (pdf) (“SLUSA”).
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The Supreme Court’s 2012-13 term is shaping up to be an important one for class action law.  Last month, the Court heard argument on the same day in two potentially significant cases. Comcast Corp. v. Behrend concerns whether plaintiffs may obtain class certification without introducing admissible evidence (including expert testimony) that damages can be proven

The Supreme Court has just granted certiorari in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, No. 12-133.   Earlier today, my colleague Andy Pincus previewed the issue presented to the Court, which is (in a nutshell) whether plaintiffs may avoid their agreements to arbitrate on an individual rather than class-wide basis by contending that

When the Supreme Court convenes for its private conference today, the Justices will consider whether to grant certiorari in a case presenting one of the most significant questions regarding the meaning of the Court’s ruling in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion that remains unresolved in the lower courts.

Following the Concepcion decision, opponents of arbitration tried to convince lower courts to limit Concepcion’s holding that arbitration clauses could not be invalidated on the ground that they required individual arbitration and prohibited class proceedings. The overwhelming majority of those arguments were rejected by district courts and courts of appeals, as explained in this article.

But a two-judge panel of the Second Circuit earlier this year endorsed the bizarre assertion that Concepcion applies differently depending on whether the claim to be arbitrated arises under state or federal law. In In re American Express Merchants’ Litigation, the panel held that agreements to arbitrate disputes on an individual basis need not be enforced when a plaintiff provides evidence that the costs of vindicating a federal claim make it “economically irrational” to pursue such a claim without the class-action procedure. Amazingly, the court found that the affidavit of the plaintiffs’ own economic expert provided sufficient “evidence” to invalidate the arbitration clauses. In other words, arbitration clauses that could be enforced with respect to a state claim might be unenforceable if the same plaintiff brought a virtually identical claim under federal law.

As noted in an earlier blog post, American Express filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of the Second Circuit’s ruling (American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, No. 12-133) and Mayer Brown authored an amicus brief supporting the petition on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, American Bankers Association, and National Association of Manufacturers.

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Antitrust class actions differ in a number of respects from the ordinary run of consumer class actions. Perhaps most notably, they frequently involve classes made up, not of individual consumers, but of highly sophisticated businesses with potentially enormous sums of money on the line. These class members sometimes take an active role in the litigation,