14 Days Or Bust: Fourth Circuit Bolsters “Rigid And Inflexible Rule” For Appealing Certification Orders

Artful attempts to appeal a class certification order beyond fourteen days will not impress the Fourth Circuit.  In Nucor, the district court certified two classes relating to substantive allegations of racial discrimination.  The district court then denied a motion to reconsider, triggering the fourteen day period for filing an interlocutory appeal.  Defendants, however, subsequently filed three motions for decertification, and one of them succeeded in part: it decertified one of the classes in light of Wal-Mart v. Dukes and left the other class intact.  Defendants then filed a fourth motion to decertify the remaining class based on Comcast v. Behrend.  The district court denied that motion, and defendants filed a petition for interlocutory appeal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f).

Reiterating that the fourteen day deadline was “rigid and inflexible,” the Fourth Circuit found that the fourteen day period was not reset by the appealed order – whether styled as one for reconsideration or decertification.  Because the order did not alter the status of the class over which defendants filed their appeal, it was not an order granting or denying certification as to that class.

Nucor Corp. v. Brown, No. 14-154 (4th Cir. July 25, 2014)

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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