Thursday, April 10, 2008

Split Noted: Can Class Certification Be Limited to Certain Issues That Are Amenable to Class-Wide Resolution?

Per Grovatt v. St. Jude Med., Inc., 2008 WL 942274, *9 (8th Cir. Apr. 9, 2008)

The underlying facts of this case are truly irrelevant to the circuit split that the opinion notes. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(c)(4) permits class actions to be certified “with respect to particular issues.” Nonetheless, the circuits are split over whether such classes may be properly certified. The CAs 2,9 hold that they may; the CA 5 that they may not unless the whole cause of action can be so certified.

Judge Colloton cites a helpful law review article (not an oxymoron, I swear) on the direct issue. The article shows the rise and fall of the practice of issue certification; a majority of circuits do not reach the issue because they find (as the panel does here) that even those issues which have been certified have a predominance of individual concerns and thus should not have been certified.

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