A bitterly divided Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to reverse the Third Circuit and decertify a class in Comcast v. Behrend (SCOTUSblog; How Appealing news roundup) yesterday. Trask has a good summary. Skadden reports that the
decision is welcome news for defendants given the recent weakening of class action standards by some federal courts. By clarifying that a trial court must apply a "rigorous analysis" to each of the Rule 23 prerequisites, including predominance -- even where such analysis entails an overlap with the merits underlying the plaintiff's claims -- the Court has indicated that lax class certification standards have no place in federal class action practice. In addition, those lower courts that have resisted the Supreme Court's recent class certification decisions may be more inclined to deny class certification in cases involving individualized damages determinations.
See also WLF. But plaintiffs' lawyers are telling Reuters that decision won't make much difference and can be readily evaded in future cases. We'll know more what the Supreme Court thinks about the scope of Comcast when they take action on the pending Whirlpool v. Glazer cert petition.