The Eighth Circuit recently struck down for a second time the district court’s certification of nationwide classes of patients implanted with an allegedly defective heart valve in In re St. Jude Medical, Inc. In the first case, the district court had certified two classes, a “medical monitoring class,” which sought injunctive relief under Rule 23(b)(2), and a “consumer protection class” seeking damages under Rule 23(b)(3). At that time, the district court had concluded without conducting a conflict-of-laws analysis that plaintiffs across the country could avail of the Minnesota consumer protection statutes because they granted standing to “any person.” The Eighth Circuit had reversed the medical monitoring class because it lacked the required “cohesion” of a proper 23(b)(2) class, given that each plaintiff’s need for medical monitoring was highly “individualized.” The court had reversed the consumer protection class because the district court failed to conduct a choice-of-law analysis, as required by the Due Process and Full Faith and Credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
The plaintiffs then dropped the 23(b)(2) class in favor of a single consumer protection 23(b)(3) nationwide class that sought both damages and medical monitoring. The district court conducted a choice-of-law analysis, determined that Minnesota law would apply, and certified the proposed class. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit found that the “predominance” requirement of Rule 23(b)(3) was not satisfied. The court held that the class had to be decertified because the defendant had the right to submit individualized rebuttal evidence with respect to whether each class member relied upon the alleged misrepresentation, and the cause of damages suffered by each class member, which individualized evidence made certification inappropriate under Rule 23(b)(3). The court also held as it did in its first decision, that the remedy of medical monitoring “present[s] too many individual factual and legal issues,” which defeat predominance under 23(b)(3).