Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Supreme Court will come off Halloween weekend in Erie fashion with Monday's oral argument in Shady Grove Orthopedic Assocs. v. Allstate Ins. Co. (No. 08-1008), which considers whether New York's bar on class actions for certain statutory-damages claims (N.Y. C.P.L.R. 901(b)) precludes class certification in a federal court diversity action. Among other issues, the briefs address whether the Erie doctrine requires federal courts to follow state-law class-certification standards, and whether allowing FRCP 23 to displace New York law on class certification would run afoul of the Rules Enabling Act's command that the FRCPs "shall not abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right." (28 U.S.C. 2072(b))
Brief for Petitioner (Plaintiff)
Brief for Respondent (Defendant)
Reply Brief for Petitioner (Plaintiff)
There are also two amicus briefs. One on the petitioner's side (by Public Justice), and one on the respondent's side (by The Partnership for New York City et al., including the US Chamber of Commerce).
For my own thoughts on the applicability of state-law class-certification standards in federal court, see What Is the Erie Doctrine? (And What Does It Mean for the Contemporary Politics of Judicial Federalism?), 84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 245 (2008). (The article also examines the potential relevance of state-law pleading and summary-judgment standards in federal court.)