Source - Developments in Class Action Law

Class Action Decisions Published July 2023

Highlights from this issue include:

Civil Rights. The Western District of Louisiana denied certification of a class alleging the defendants, through public pressure campaigns, private meetings and other forms of direct communication, colluded with or coerced social-media platforms to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints and content on social media platforms. The court found the proposed class could not be certified for a number of reasons, including that it was neither “adequately defined” nor “clearly ascertainable.”

Airport Noise. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims denied certification of a class of property owners who alleged Fifth Amendment taking and breach of contract claims based on the alleged substantial interference with use and enjoyment of their real property by increased operations of the U.S. Navy’s fighter jets from landing strip and Naval Air Station activity over and around their property. The court found the class failed the commonality, predominance, and superiority requirements because assessing liability would require individualized determinations such as where the plaintiffs live in relationship to the airstrip, the frequency of the flights in relation to their property, whether the planes flew directly over their property, the altitude at which the planes flew, the noise levels experienced by the plaintiffs, and the degree and ways in which the noise and vibrations caused by the flights interfered with the plaintiffs’ enjoyment and use of their property.

Rule 23(c)(4) Issues Class. The District of Columbia Circuit clarified when it was appropriate to certify a Rule 23(c)(4) issues class. The D.C. Circuit explained that “Rule 23(c)(4) does not create a fourth category of class action beyond those specified in Rule 23(b),” but, “[i]nstead, Rule 23(c)(4) elucidates what district courts can do as part of managing Rule 23-qualifying class actions.” In short, “any ‘issue class’ under Rule 23(c)(4) must also meet the threshold requirements of Rule 23(a) and be maintainable under one of the class types laid out in Rule 23(b).” The D.C. Circuit further explained, “A certified issue class should encompass a reasonably and workably segregable aspect of the litigation.

Subscribe to receive future monthly updates >>