Recently, the Supreme Court reinforced that in class action litigation, the courts must undertake a rigorous analysis of the Federal Rule’s prerequisites in certifying a class of litigants. As previously reported here, the Supreme Court addressed this issue in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes in 2011. In Dukes, the Supreme Court noted that trial courts frequently resolve issues that overlap with the merits of a case when analyzing the class certification. However, the Court did not specifically address how the trial courts should resolve the question, which led to inconsistent results regarding which questions should be addressed at the class certification stage.
Recently, the Supreme Court addressed this issue in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend [pdf]. In the decision, the Supreme Court found that the trial court must examine the merits of the plaintiffs’ damages evidence at the class certification stage to determine if the damages can be assessed on a classwide basis. This decision raises the bar for class actions. For more information regarding the decision and its impact, please see Squire Sanders’ alert and Squire Sanders’ Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog.