The U.S. Supreme Court – in an important case handled by Public Citizen – has ruled that state laws barring class actions cannot trump federal court rules allowing such cases. The case, Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates v. Allstate Insurance Company, was argued by Public Citizen’s Scott Nelson. The opinion – authored by Justice Antonin Scalia and joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Stevens, Thomas and Sotomayor – accepted Public Citizen’s argument that the federal rules, by their terms, authorize class actions in any case that meets the criteria set by the rules, and that conflicting state laws cannot override the federal rules.
This case ensures that class actions will be available as a means for redress for Plaintiffs advancing claims based on both state and federal substantive law if there is a basis for federal court jurisdiction over the case. Because Congress expanded federal-court jurisdiction over class actions in the so-called “Class Action Fairness Act,” state efforts to curtail class actions will not be effective for the large numbers of cases over which that Act provides federal jurisdiction. This was not only a good result, it was the right result under the law.
Source: Public Citizen
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