November 21, 2008
Federal Judicial Center Publishes More Findings on CAFA's Impact
The Federal Judicial Center released the findings from Phase Two of a study on the impact of CAFA on the federal courts:
This report presents preliminary findings from Phase Two of the ongoing study of
the impact of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) on the federal
courts. Phase One found that the number of class actions based on diversity of
citizenship jurisdiction filed in or removed to the federal courts increased after
CAFA s effective date. Phase Two will, when complete, measure CAFA s impact
on litigation activity and judicial rulings in class actions in the federal courts. This
report presents an initial description and overview of the litigation activity, outcomes,
and case characteristics of class actions based on diversity of citizenship
jurisdiction filed in or removed to the federal courts in the two years preceding
CAFA s effective date. Future reports will compare these findings to the extent
that meaningful comparisons are possible with prior empirical research and discuss
any apparent differences.
For the whole report, click here.
November 20, 2008
Declaratory Judgments and Claim Preclusion
A panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a district court finding that a deceptive trade practices claim against an insurance company was barred by res judicata because the claim could have been brought in the plaintiff's previously obtained declaratory judgment action. The plaintiff argued that the district court erred by not recognizing that the normal rules of claim preclusion do not apply when the original action involves declaratory relief. The First Circuit panel explained that section 33 of the 2d Restatement of Judgments provides such an exception to the general rule:
The linchpin of this asseveration is section 33 of the Restatement (Second) of Judgments, which states that "[a] valid and final judgment in an action brought to declare rights or other legal relations of the parties is conclusive in a subsequent action between them as to the matters declared." Under this prescription, "[a] plaintiff who wins a declaratory judgment may go on to seek further relief, even in an action on the same claim which prompted the action for a declaratory judgment.
The panel then went on to find that although the Massachusetts high court had not adopted Section 33, "when faced with the question that is now before us, the SJC will adopt the articulation of claim preclusion principles limned in section 33 of the Second Restatement."
The court concluded that the ability of a party to seek declaratory relief would be frustrated if the plaintiff were required to bring all conceivable claims and counterclaims. Read the full opinion here.
November 19, 2008
Click the link to download the details of Northern Kentucky's Symposium on E-Discovery.