Can plaintiffs seek back-damages using a class action vehicle that’s built for righting wrongs in equity through remedies like injunction? In the biggest work place class action ever, the United States Supreme Court has granted cert on the question of whether plaintiffs can use the Rule 23(b)(2) injunctive class procedure as a vehicle to seek money damages. Why does it matter? Because injunctive classes are much easier to certify than damages classes. Usually, when plaintiffs seek damages as their primary remedy they pursue class certification through Rule 23(b)(3), the money damages class, which has significantly more burdensome procedural requirements to achieve class certification than its injunctive counterpart. The high court should have an answer by June of 2011.
For an accessible preview check out Lyle Denniston’s article at Scotus Blog. Read the 9th Circuit opinion here. Check out other comments by Supreme Court watchers: David G. Savage has an article in the L.A. Times; Jess Bravin and Ann Zimmerman have this piece in the Wall Street Journal; Adam Liptak and Steven Greenhouse file this report in the New York Times.