Class Action Rule 23

A class action is a type of legal action where a representative individual or group of individuals can bring a claim on behalf of a larger group or class who share a common legal interest.
News & Analysis as of

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad: Kansas District Court Certifies Settlement Class and Grants Preliminary Approval but Rejects Notice by...

A boy fell through the vinyl guardrail his father installed on the second story deck of their home. After settling his son’s personal injury claims, the father sued Home Depot and the guardrail manufacturer on behalf of...more

A Byrd in the Hand

Recently, I had the privilege of moderating a panel in Boston discussing hot topics in class actions. We had a terrific group of panelists, including three (besides myself) who represent defendants in class actions and one...more

Third Circuit to Plaintiffs’ Bar: Expert Testimony Necessary for Certification Must Satisfy Daubert

Plaintiff purchasers of traditional blood reagents, products that test the compatibility of donor blood with recipients, brought putative class actions claiming that two defendant companies conspired to fix prices in...more

Use of Expert Testimony at Class Certification Stage Addressed By Third Circuit

The Third Circuit recently joined the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits in holding that, where a Daubert challenge is made to the use of expert testimony in support of class certification, the Daubert challenge must be...more

Third Circuit Clarifies the Ascertainability Standard in Class Certification Proceedings

In a precedential opinion issued on April 16, 2015, the Third Circuit sought to clarify its requirement that a proposed class be sufficiently ascertainable in order to be certified under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). Expressing...more

Some Plaintiffs Just Have No Class

We’ve been thinking a lot about class actions lately. One reason is that the Rule 23 Subcommittee of the (federal) Advisory Committee on Civil Rules just came out with a “sketch” of possible amendments – and from the defense...more

Not Saved By The Bell: Dismissing Classes Prediscovery

Two billion dollars. That is what the top legal counsel at nearly 350 companies spent on the defense of class actions in 2014. In addition to the cost of outside counsel, on average, companies dedicate six in-house...more

Rule 23 Study Agenda – Ascertainability

The final topic the Subcommittee has announced it will examine is the possibility of adopting a formal ascertainability requirement. The topic was suggested by several judges of the Third Circuit, who formally requested the...more

Second Circuit Finds Highly Individualized Damages Inquiry Won’t Spoil Rule 23 Class Wage Claims

Roach v. T.L. Cannon Corp., No. 13-3070-cv (2d Cir. Feb. 10, 2015): The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated and remanded the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York’s decision denying class...more

Food for Thought: 2014 Litigation Annual Review

Food for Thought reports on significant court decisions affecting the food industry. The focus of this edition is on several food-related cases pertaining to class certification; particularly, on district court decisions...more

Rule 23 Study Agenda – Merits Inquiry

The Advisory Committee has signaled that the merits inquiry is a “back burner” issue for the next Rule 23 amendments. Perhaps they should nudge it towards the front....more

Rule 23 Study Agenda – FRCP 68 and Mootness

Courts look down on offers of judgment in class actions as a procedural trick. Used properly, however, they are an effective early screen for cases that can’t be certified. ...more

Insurance Balance Billing Class Fails Rule 23’s Requirements

Plaintiff filed a putative class action in Arkansas state court against his automobile insurer for alleged failure to pay the full amount it was contractually required to pay for his medical bills following a car accident. ...more

Rule 23 Study Agenda – Notice Issues

Provisions to make notice of class certification cheaper and more effective are welcome, but they should also focus on making it more accessible once it arrives....more

Third Circuit: Strict Ascertainability Optional for Rule 23(B)(2) Class

Although not explicitly set forth in Rule 23, an essential prerequisite of any action under Rule 23 is that there must be an identifiable “class” at the moment of certification. The shorthand term commonly used to refer to...more

Rule 23 Study Agenda – Objectors

Oft-maligned objectors serve a valuable function in class actions. Rather than trying to rein them in; the Advisory Committee should work on reducing the need for them....more

The Rules Advisory Committee Study Agenda – Cy Pres

In the last five years, the use of cy pres relief in settlements has become particularly controversial. Various appellate courts have expressed suspicion about the use of cy pres in questionable settlements. Even Justice...more

Class Certification Denied in Chemical Leak Lawsuit

An Arkansas federal judge recently denied a motion to certify a proposed class of property owners alleging that Whirlpool’s failure to clean up toxic chemicals at its facility diminished the value of their surrounding...more

District Court Decertifies Class Where Damages Model Did Not Satisfy Supreme Court’s Requirements as Set Forth in Comcast Corp. v....

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted a defendant’s motion to decertify a class because plaintiff’s damages model was not consistent with his theory of liability as required...more

The Ten Most Significant Class Action Cases of 2014

Year-end lists are funny things. They take a sort-of arbitrary starting and stopping point, and then they cram a bunch of prejudices into a (usually) arbitrary number of items. And then people take them kind of seriously....more

The Rules Advisory Committee Study Agenda – Rule 23(e)

Amending Rule 23 would add clarity to the settlement process and teeth to the protection of absent class members. But to solve the real class settlement process, the Advisory Committee will have to look at why so many weak...more

What Will Be in the Coming Class Action Amendments?

I’ve written a little so far about the fact that Rule 23 is likely to undergo revision in the next few years. Last week Judge Robert Michael Dow, who is a member of the Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure’s...more

To Be Or Not To Be: Mooting Rule 23 Class Actions Through Rule 68 Offers of Judgment

The use of Rule 68 offers of judgment to moot the claims of plaintiffs in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action context has received much attention recently as the courts consider defendants’ use of this...more

November 2014: Class Action Litigation Update

Class Action Defense Menu: Statutes of Limitations Served Two Ways. The statute of limitations is an underutilized but potentially potent defense in many consumer class actions. The defense can be raised two ways. First, as...more

Second Circuit Affirms District Court’s Denial of Certification of Class of Investors Alleging Common Law Fraud Under New York Law

The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of class certification of a class of investors based on the appellants’ failure to satisfy the numerosity and commonality requirements of Rule 23(a). Following the...more

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