Brief of Professors Sant'Ambrogio and Zimmerman in Support of Complainants Motion to Certify a Class Action in the Federal Maritime Commission

32 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2018

See all articles by Michael Sant'Ambrogio

Michael Sant'Ambrogio

Michigan State University - College of Law

Adam S. Zimmerman

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Date Written: August 7, 2018

Abstract

Last year, plaintiffs filed the first damage class action in the Federal Maritime Commission. In this amicus brief, written in support of complainant's motions, we explain the use of aggregate procedures in non-Article III courts, like the Federal Maritime Commission. “Non-article III courts” include both administrative tribunals and legislative courts whose judges lack the tenure and salary protections of Article III of the Constitution. As we show, a wide variety of non-Article III courts have concluded that they can, and should, in appropriate circumstances, aggregate claims under statutory authority that closely resembles the authority Congress has provided to the Federal Maritime Commission. In so doing, this brief makes three points.

First, Congress generally grants non-Article III courts broad discretion to craft procedures they deem necessary and appropriate to adjudicate the cases and claims that come before them. Non-Article III courts’ power to develop procedural rules reflects an appropriate and effective division of labor between Congress and administrative tribunals. While Congress creates and defines the jurisdiction of agencies, agencies apply their expertise to determine the procedures best-suited to exercise that jurisdiction.

Second, relying on that authority, non-Article III courts employ a wide range of procedures to aggregate cases formally and informally. For example, non-Article III courts have adopted rules that permit joinder, consolidation, and class actions. And even in the absence of a specific rule, non-Article III courts have aggregated particular cases and claims on a case-by-case basis. Aggregating claims on a case-by-case basis may be particularly important to quickly resolve pending claims, while offering tribunals insights that will aid in developing more formal rules in the future.

Third, non-Article III courts use aggregation to promote efficiency, consistency, and fairness. Aggregation enables courts to pool information about common and recurring problems efficiently, fosters more consistent outcomes in similar cases than is possible through case-by-case adjudications, and improves access to legal and expert assistance for parties who have limited resources and whose claims may appropriately be pursued through collective mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

Sant'Ambrogio, Michael and Zimmerman, Adam S., Brief of Professors Sant'Ambrogio and Zimmerman in Support of Complainants Motion to Certify a Class Action in the Federal Maritime Commission (August 7, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3241843 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3241843

Michael Sant'Ambrogio

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

648 N. Shaw Lane
Room 367
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

Adam S. Zimmerman (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.lls.edu/aboutus/facultyadministration/faculty/facultylists-z/zimmermanadam/

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