Friday, May 1, 2009
Justice David Souter plans to retire from the Supreme Court when the term ends in June, according to new accounts. In the field of mass torts, Justice Souter authored the majority opinion in Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., the 1999 decision rejecting a Rule 23(b)(1)(B) limited fund settlement class action in asbestos litigation. After Ortiz, non-opt-out settlement class actions -- which in the 1990s had some appeal as a potential mechanism for resolving future claims in high liability mass torts -- are both difficult and unappealing to use as a mass tort settlement mechanism. For the tenth anniversary of Ortiz, the University of Kansas is planning a symposium in October, organized by mass torts prof Laura Hines.