Washington, DC-based litigator James Freije brings us an analysis of the Supreme Court’s latest class certification decision.

Resolving a current split amongst multiple federal circuits, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker that federal courts of appeals lack jurisdiction to review orders denying class certification after plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.  Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, overturning the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, citing a lack of jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (“§ 1291”).  In a separate opinion concurring … Continue Reading

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The House of Representatives has reintroduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA), and it’s more substantial than the 2015 version.  The previous version, you may recall, attempted to reinforce the typicality requirement to minimize the number of “no injury” class actions brought.  It cleared the House, but died in the Senate.  It appears that House Republicans sense an opportunity with the new administration to enact more sweeping class reforms.
I testified in support of the 2015 Act, and having read the new bill, I like it even more. I think it lives up to its … Continue Reading

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.  But they can be handy ways of catching trends one did not see before.  And in a year that has seen the beginning of a new debate over the shape of Rule 23, looking at the trends in caselaw can be important.  This year’s cases include some pro-plaintiff and some pro-defendant, and some hard to quantify.  But most of them are notable … Continue Reading

ExxonMobil recently attempted to settle a class action involving the payment of gas royalties. As part of that settlement, it agreed to a provision that would impose a severe appeal bond on any objectors who might wish to appeal an unsuccessful objection. The clause read:

Because any appeal by an objecting Class Member would delay the payment under the Settlement, each Class Member that appeals agrees to put up a cash bond to be set by the district court sufficient to reimburse Class Counsel’s appellate fees, Class Counsel’s expenses, and the lost interest to the Class caused by the delay

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 We’re in the middle of the holiday season, and that means that folks are making (or, for those who celebrate Hannukkah, checking off) their wish lists. This October, the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform compiled one of their own in their report A Roadmap for Reform: Lessons from Eight Years of the Class Action Reform Act. Why pay attention to this report? As class action defense counsel, don’t we already know what we’d like?

Sure. But the report was prepared by John Beisner, a long-recognized thought leader in class action defense. [Disclosure: I worked Continue Reading

I haven’t commented much about the Supreme Court’s class action docket so far, largely because this year I was more focused on–in my own small way–trying to influence what it would be.  But now that my particular efforts are done, I thought I would focus on each of the cases before the Court this Term.  I don’t feel comfortable talking much about Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, which addresses plaintiffs’ use of stipulations that limit class recovery to less than CAFA’s $5 million amount-in-controversy threshold, since I was on a team that assisted Ted Frank of the CCAF Continue Reading

 As most of you following class action-related news know by now, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari to review another class action decision: the Ninth Circuit’s recent opinion in Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds v. Amgen, Inc.  (Hat tip to Paul Karlsgodt of the reliably great ClassActionBlawg for getting the scoop.) As usual, SCOTUSblog has all of the relevant documents.

The issue in this case, is whether a court must decide whether an allegedly fraudulent statement is material before it applies the fraud-on-the-market presumption from Basic, Inc. v. Levinson. As the certiorari petition puts it:

The

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 At the DePaul symposium a few weeks back, Professor Suja Thomas argued that the Supreme Court should not take on "oddball" cases, because the outlying facts make for decisions that are too sweeping. (She’s made this argument before about Iqbal and Twombly, so you don’t have to wait for the DePaul Law Review’s Symposium Issue to get the basics.)

As I’ve mentioned before, Professor Thomas is no fan of oddball cases. She argues that:

the Supreme Court and some scholars, including Professor Richard Epstein, have justified the new standard on the basis of the costs in Twombly,

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 In the 1990s, a group of attorneys sued a number of securities broker-dealers nationwide. They alleged that the broker-dealers had executed a number of securities orders at the "National Best Bid and Offer" (NBBO) price–which would provide a customer with the lowest available ask or the highest available bid for a security–an industry-wide practice at the time. Broker-dealers operate under a "duty of best execution," which requires them to "use reasonable efforts to maximize the economic benefit to the client in each transaction." The plaintiffs accused the broker-dealers of violating that duty by executing orders at … Continue Reading