The Supreme Court of the United States announced decisions in two cases this morning:

Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, No. 11-864: Today, the Court decided a case addressing the class certification requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) following the Court’s prior decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. __ (2011). Here, respondents filed a putative class action against petitioners Comcast Corporation and its subsidiaries, raising antitrust claims stemming from Comcast’s purported “clustering” of its cable television operations within the Philadelphia area, which allegedly harmed Comcast subscribers by lessening competition and leading to supra-competitive prices. In seeking class certification, with respect to the predominance requirement under Rule 23(b)(3), the District Court required respondents to show that the antitrust impact could be proved through common evidence, and that the damages were measurable on a classwide basis through a common methodology. The District Court only accepted one of respondents’ four proposed theories of antitrust impact, and then certified the class, notwithstanding the fact that respondents’ damages expert’s regression model did not isolate damages resulting from any one of the four antitrust impact theories offered. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting petitioners’ arguments that the damages model did not attribute damages to the antitrust impact theory accepted by the District Court, reasoning that to do so would require reaching the merits of the claims at the certification stage. The Court today reversed, reaffirming that the certification inquiry involves a “rigorous analysis,” and that Rule 23’s requirements demanded a damages model showing that damages could be calculated on a classwide basis under the antitrust impact theory accepted by the District Court, even if that requires inquiry into the merits of the claim.

The Court's decision is available here.

Millbrook v. United States, No. 11-10362: Section 2680(h) of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) extends the Government’s waiver of sovereign immunity from tort suits to certain intentional torts, including assault and battery, that are based on the “acts or omissions” of a federal officer “who is empowered by law to execute searches, to seize evidence, or to make arrests.” Petitioner is a federal prisoner who sued the United States under the FTCA, alleging assault and battery claims against correctional officers while in custody. The District Court dismissed the suit, and the Third Circuit affirmed, on the basis that this waiver of sovereign immunity only applies to torts occurring during the course of executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest. Today, the Court reversed, holding that the waiver effected by the law enforcement proviso extends to acts or omissions of law enforcement officers that arise within the scope of their employment, regardless of whether the officers are engaged in investigative or law enforcement activity, or are executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest.

The Court's decision is available here.