U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief of Civil Procedure Professors in Support of Respondents, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277

51 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2011 Last revised: 3 Aug 2011

See all articles by Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart

University of Colorado Law School

Alexandra D. Lahav

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Arthur Miller

New York University School of Law

Paul M. Secunda

Marquette University - Law School

Adam Steinman

University of Alabama - School of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2011

Abstract

The class action device is essential to a well-functioning system of justice because of its ability to balance the values of access to the courts and efficient adjudication of disputes. This was the vision of the drafters of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. This Court can and should interpret Rule 23's text in a way that vindicates these overarching goals.

Particularly in an adjudicative class action, the certification motion needs to be understood as a preliminary step that is complimented by motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions. The aim of class certification is not to screen out suits that fail even to allege a claim for relief (that is for motions to dismiss), nor to issue dispositive rulings on the merits (that is the purpose of summary judgment or trial). Instead, it is to determine whether the purposes of the class action rule would be served by proceeding with a collective litigation.

The district court case did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the proposed class met the requirements of Rule 23(a). In fact, the court’s attention to the detailed pleadings and the extensive evidence gathered by the parties in assessing whether the named plaintiffs’ claims shared common questions of law or fact with claims of absent class members showed a level of rigorous evaluation that went beyond the 23(a) threshold. Classification of the class under 23(b)(2) was also appropriate under the Federal Rules. Petitioner’s contrary arguments ignore the text, purpose and history of Rule 23.

Keywords: Class Action, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, Certification Motion, Rule 23(a), Rule 23(b)(2), Employment Discrimination, Gender Discrimination

Suggested Citation

Hart, Melissa and Lahav, Alexandra D. and Miller, Arthur and Secunda, Paul M. and Steinman, Adam, U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief of Civil Procedure Professors in Support of Respondents, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, No. 10-277 (July 1, 2011). NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-44. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1806066 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1806066

Melissa Hart

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-735-6344 (Phone)

Alexandra D. Lahav

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

Arthur Miller

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Paul M. Secunda (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States

Adam Steinman

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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