Supreme Court Ups the Bar for Class Action Lawsuits

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Supreme Court Ups the Bar for Class Action Lawsuits

by Christine M. Vanek on May 7, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend will likely help businesses defend employment, anti-trust, consumer protection class action lawsuits. The Court raised the bar for plaintiffs at the class certification stage by holding that they must provide credible evidence of damages applicable on a classwide basis.

The Facts of the Case

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) requires that “questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members.” In Comcast, the plaintiffs alleged that the cable provider “clustered” its cable television operations within a particular region by swapping the systems outside the region for competitor systems inside the region. The antitrust suit further claimed that the plaintiffs and other Comcast subscribers in the Philadelphia “cluster” are harmed because Comcast’s strategy lessens competition and leads to supra-competitive prices.

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