Seyfarth Synopsis: In early September of 2017, Judge Richard Posner announced his retirement from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a position he had held since his appointment by President Reagan in 1981. Judge Posner served as Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit from 1993-2000. Scholars and commentators agree that Judge Posner wrote some of the most influential legal decisions of the past 50 years. In this video, Partner Jennifer Riley discusses the accomplished career of Justice Posner with esteemed class action litigator Jerry Maatman. In particular, they highlight the class action legacy in Judge Posner’s opinions.
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Prior to his retirement this Fall, Judge Posner was one of the most well-known U.S. Appellate Court justices in recent history. He is held in high regard in the fields of law and economics, and is famous for his writings on topics such as contract law, civil rights, antitrust laws, workplace rights, and federal jurisprudence. An author of over 40 books, Judge Posner was cited as often as any federal judge in the U.S.
In terms of class actions, Judge Posner wrote a number of famous opinions regarding the interpretation of Rule 23. These decisions include cases such as Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., In Re Walgreen Co. Stockholder Litigation, and Eubank, et al. v. Pella Corp. Though the Seventh Circuit often has been regarded as a fairly conservative jurisdiction, its track record has been somewhat “certification friendly” in terms of Rule 23 issues while Judge Posner was active. His focus on protecting the participants in a class action and his exacting scrutiny over settlements are cemented in his legacy on the bench. As Jerry emphasizes in the video, whether or not legal professionals agree with Judge Posner’s class action interpretations, they must certainly take account of his positions on Rule 23 issues.