December 10, 2010
Lahav Summarizes SCOTUS Class Action cert grants
Over at the Mass Tort Litigation Blog, Alexandra Lahav has a great post on The Coming Revolution in Class Actions in which she gives a brief overview of the class action cases that the Supreme Court will hear this term.
December 7, 2010
Clermont on the Baycol Case
Kevin Clermont (Cornell Law School) has posted Class Certification's Preclusive Effects to SSRN.
In September 2010, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the controversial Baycol litigation. The central question will be whether, subsequent to a denial of class certification, preclusion can prevent an absentee from seeking to certify another class action on a similar claim. This Article answers that question in the affirmative, while warning that the preclusion is very limited in scope. It arrives at this answer by analogizing to the established doctrine of jurisdiction to determine no jurisdiction.
Spencer on Pre-Litigation Preservation & Spoliation
Prof. Benjamin Spencer (Washington & Lee) has posted on SSRN a draft of his article, The Preservation Obligation: Regulating and Sanctioning Pre-Litigation Spoliation in Federal Court, which is forthcoming in the Fordham Law Review. Here’s the abstract:
The issue of discovery misconduct, specifically as it pertains to the pre-litigation duty to preserve and sanctions for spoliation, has garnered much attention in the wake of decisions by two prominent jurists whose voices carry great weight in this area. In Pension Committee of University of Montreal Pension Plan v. Bank of America Securities, Judge Shira Scheindlin - of the Zubulake e-discovery cases - penned a scholarly and thorough opinion setting forth her views regarding the triggering of the duty to preserve potentially relevant information pending litigation and the standards for determining the appropriate sanctions for various breaches of that duty. Not long afterwards, Judge Lee Rosenthal - Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Standing Committee) and former Chair of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee - issued an opinion (Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. v. Cammarata ) describing her understanding of many of the same issues touched on in Pension Committee. Both of these opinions have come at a time when the legal community is looking for better and more consistent guidance regarding the preservation obligations attendant to prospective litigation in the federal courts. Unfortunately, although other courts may draw some guidance from these two opinions, the fact is that variation among district courts and among the circuits will persist as long as policing pre-litigation preservation obligations remains largely the product of common law regulation via the inherent power of the courts.
Given this state of affairs, the time is ripe for a uniform federal approach to the pre-litigation duty to preserve and sanctions for spoliation. After reviewing the existing frameworks for determining the duty to pre-serve and imposing sanctions that prevail among the federal courts, this Article will explore how the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure might be amended to define and enforce pre-action preservation obligations more effectively and consistently across jurisdictions.
December 6, 2010
SCOTUS Grants Cert. in Dukes v. Wal-Mart Class Action
The Supreme Court granted certiorari today in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (No. 10-277). Of the questions presented in the petition, it granted cert. only as to Question I:
“Whether claims for monetary relief can be certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2)—which by its terms is limited to injunctive or corresponding declaratory relief—and, if so, under what circumstances.”
In addition, the Court directed the parties to brief and argue the following question:
“Whether the class certification ordered under Rule 23(b)(2) was consistent with Rule 23(a).”
SCOTUSblog’s case file is available here, which contains links to the Ninth Circuit’s opinion below and the cert-stage briefs.
NYTimes article highlights litigation financing
The New York Times has a feature about the burgeoning business of litigation financing. This article focuses on a firm that finances divorce litigation.