Elizabeth Chamblee Burch

The adequacy requirement of Rule 23(a)(4) tends to be under-studied and under-enforced.  That’s why it is always a pleasure to read new work on adequacy. Now, Professor Elizabeth Burch has published her latest discussion of the adequacy requirement: Adequately Representing Groups.

Professor Burch focuses on the standard that should apply when attacking adequacy after the fact. Nonetheless, this inquiry should inform the Rule 23(a)(4) inquiry, since one of the purposes of finding a representative adequate is to prevent subsequent collateral attacks to an aggregated judgment.

Her conclusions:

  • Courts should tolerate greater conflicts in "indivisible remedy" cases.
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 During the latter half of 2011, I was privy to the following exchange between a well-known law professor and a well-known practitioner:

PROFESSOR: Yes, I wrote a piece which concluded that the class action is dead. You heard it here.
PRACTITIONER: And yet plaintiffs keep filing the things …

That exchange (which I promise actually happened), summarizes the primary trend in class-action scholarship in the last year: declaring the device "dead," either because classes are now too hard to certify because of Dukes, too hard to bring in the first place because of Concepcion, or too expensive because Continue Reading

Florida State law professor Elizabeth Chamblee Burch is the latest to weigh in on the problem of how to make sure class actions are adequately governed.  In an forthcoming article from the Vanderbilt Law Review, she asks what makes an optimal lead plaintiff in a securities class action.

Burch focuses on the the difficulties raised by what she refers to as plaintiffs’ law firms "courting process," particularly the use of "pay to play" practices and investment monitoring agreements.  Her discussion of these issues is worth quoting at length:

After the PSLRA, plaintiffs’ law firms sought to

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Martin Redish is back in the news. In the past week, he’s been written up in Forbes and the ABA Journal, as well as a series of associated blog posts by academics like Elizabeth Chamblee Burch. The Forbes profile – which kicked off the coverage – quotes him as saying that the rights held by class action litigants:

are individually held rights … What a lot of class action scholars and proponents have done–quite cleverly, I must say–is engage in a sort of alchemy to transform individual rights into collective rights.

The Forbes profile doesn’t focus on any particular work … Continue Reading