Judge Richard Posner has always been an independent thinker, something he has proven in the last year as, despite his economically conservative credentials (which would lead one to presume a possible defense bias), he authored a number of arguably pro-plaintiff class certification opinions, particularly his twin opinions in the controversial case Butler v. Sears Roebuck

 Judge Posner is often considered to be a pro-defense jurist, particularly in the area of class actions. Lately, he’s been proving himself to be more independent-minded than that. First, he allowed certification of a washing machine class, justifying certification despite some outcome-determinative individualized issues because predominance is a matter of "efficiency," and should not be

Two years ago, I wrote about the difficulties defendants face when securities plaintiffs invoke confidential witnesses in their complaints. The case that prompted that discussion, City of Livonia Employee Retirement System v. Boeing Corp., now has a sequel. As it turns out, both parties appealed the opinion below: the plaintiffs because the court below

 Last week, there were two appellate opinions, one from the Seventh Circuit and one from the Tenth, that are worth some attention. They’re worth discussing together as well, because while only one is really helpful for defendants, both discuss different conceptions of how to argue comity in class actions.

The first is Smentek v. Dart

A few years ago, I attended an oral argument with a colleague. (He was there to argue a substantive motion in our case, I was there to take on the class-related issues.) It turned out we were in front of a hot bench that day: the judge clearly had formed several opinions of the case

 Culver v. City of Milwaukee dealt with allegations of race discrimination–specifically, a white man who claimed he had been denied a job application at the Milwaukee police department because it was not accepting white males the year he applied. The trial court certified his proposed class (which consisted both of white men who had