Trask Previews SCOTUS Case on Appellate Deadlines

Shook Of Counsel Andrew Trask has authored an article for the Daily Journal detailing Lambert v. Nutraceutical Corp., a Ninth Circuit decision on deadlines for appeal. "Every litigator has wished they had a few extra days to file something, and every litigator has wanted to hold their adversary to their deadlines," Trask explains. "So this is not a question of either plaintiffs or defendants gaining a structural advantage over class action procedure."

"Instead, this appeal challenges how we view the integrity of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When Rule 23(f) was enacted 20 years ago, it was with the understanding that interlocutory appeal of class actions would remain comparatively rare. One of the tools for ensuring that this remained true was giving the appellate courts wide discretion to not hear appeals. But the other tool was a strict deadline. Each of the circuit courts of appeals that has faced this issue has held that the benefits of this strict deadline outweighed any potential difficulty from not hearing a particular interlocutory appeal. By taking this case, the Supreme Court will inevitably rule on which of these views of class action procedure—that it is a carefully considered balance between competing interests, or that it is a set of guidelines that can be modified as the court sees fit—ought to control."