As it turns out, Chicago poet and journalist Carl Sandburg is one of–if not the–first person to be credited with an old piece of advice for lawyers:

If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.

As well as sourcing Sandburg’s quote, in his article for the journal American Politics Research, Law, Fact, and the Threat of Reversal From Above, University of Alabama professor Joseph L. Smith uses the latest in computer content … Continue Reading

 When the Rules Committee amended Rule 23 in 1998 to allow for interlocutory appeals, it made them discretionary. The result, as I’ve written before, is that class action litigators have had to make these appeals attractive to appellate courts in much the same way that appellate litigators must prepare certiorari petitions

But, as it turns out, there is one way for plaintiffs at least to ensure that an appellate court hears a denial of certification.

In Berger v. Home Depot USA, Inc., No. 11-55592, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2059 (9th Cir. Feb. 3, 2014), the plaintiff had … Continue Reading

Thurgood Marhshall was, of course, a Justice of the Supreme Court. But before that, he was an absolutely incredible litigator; he was the primary strategist behind the NAACP’s litigation campaign to desegregate public institutions. In the wake of his victory in Brown v. Board of Education, he published The Rise & Collapse of the "White Democratic Primary," 26 J. Negro Educ. 249 (1957). 

The "white primary system" was a system of rules and tacit agreements in Jim Crow South that effectively disenfranchised African-Americans. At the time, the Democratic Party held a virtual monopoly on public office in … Continue Reading

This week, we ask the question: what happens to a class action after the defendants win an appeal?

The case posing this question is Glaberson v. Comcast Corp., No. 03-6604, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160892 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 12, 2013). And the facts should be familiar: Glaberson is the current name for the case the Supreme Court heard as Comcast Corp. v. Behrend

After the Supreme Court reversed Behrend, the parties began litigating the question of what happened to the case next. The plaintiffs argued that they should have the opportunity to file another motion for class … Continue Reading

Earlier this year, Professor Arthur Miller published a summary of developments in civil procedure over the last several years, entitled Simplified Pleading, Meaningful Days in Court, and Trials on the Merits: Reflections on the Deformation of Federal Procedure.

Professor Miller is one of the giants of civil procedure. He may or may not have been the hard-nosed Professor Perini in Scott Turow’s memoir One-L. He was, for a select generation of us Bostonians, the host of legal affairs show Miller’s Court

But he’s also the head of Milberg LLP’s appellate practice. And he wears his plaintiff-side … Continue Reading

 Longtime readers may remember that last February I had the pleasure of participating in the DePaul Law Review’s symposium on Class Action Rollback.  The article from that symposium will be appearing shortly in the DePaul Law Review, and a very late draft of it is now available at SSRN. Without further comment, here is the SSRN abstract for the article:

Most discussions of legal doctrine assume that litigants will react to a change in doctrine, but not that they will try to influence that doctrine further by adopting new arguments or finding loopholes in the doctrine itself.

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The Economist is reporting that the French president Francois Hollande’s government just presented a class action bill to the Council of Ministers on May 2. While the bill still must be debated and passed, it has already generated a fair amount of buzz in Europe about whether this means that the French Socialist government will be importing American-style class actions.

European businesses need not worry that much. The bill really is far more similar to England’s "group action" law (although it appears to operate on an opt-out principle rather than an opt-in one). As Commercial Risk Europe reports, … Continue Reading

 As Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos has observed, it has rapidly become a cliche that law schools are in crisis. They charge too much, and they don’t prove adequate training or job placement in return.  As a result, they are losing enrollees quickly, which means that a number of them may have to start cutting back or shutting down in the foreseeable future.

And, rather than confront the problems, most legal academics have shrugged and talked about how the problem is systemic, and therefore likely insoluble.

Of course, there are solutions out there. They just require political willContinue Reading

This term, the Supreme Court will review several class action cases. In one of those, Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk (technically, an FLSA collective action, but a ruling either way will likely have wider significance) it will decide whether a defendant can moot a class action by offering full relief to a class representative. The case has received a lot of attention, in no small part because plaintiffs are worried about the practice of "picking off" named plaintiffs. On the other side, defendants would like to preserve one of the best tools they have for avoiding nuisance suits.

Last … Continue Reading

Back over the summer, I was approached to blurb Paul Karlsgodt’s now-published World Class Actions: A Practitioner’s Guide to Group and Representative Actions around the Globe, which I did happily. Here’s the text of the blurb:

World Class Actions is a comprehensive and practical look at everything a class-action litigator needs to know about mass litigation in other countries. In an increasingly globalized world, this is a book no international lawyer should be without.

That was the two sentences that would fit on the back of a book cover, and I meant every word. This, however, is a (long-overdue) … Continue Reading