Robert H. Klonoff, Dean of the Lewis and Clark Law School and author of the quintessential class action compendium, Class Actions and Other Multi-Party Litigation in a Nutshell, has authored an excellent research paper entitled The Decline of Class Actions. The paper which will be published in Volume 90 of the Washington University Law Review, but a draft is now available for free download at SSRN. Dean Klonoff asserts that recent trends in class action decisions, which make it more difficult for plaintiffs to obtain class certification, have undermined the “compensation, deterrence, and efficiency” objectives underlying Rule 23. He urges policymakers, rulemakers, and the courts to take a “more balanced approach to classwide adjudication.”
Whether or not you agree with Dean Klonoff’s criticisms from an academic point of view, the article is a must read for anyone looking for a good synopsis of the key developments in the U.S. class action law over the past several years. From the Class Action Fairness Act to the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Dukes and Concepcion to slightly less glamorous topics such as the necessity of a precise class definition, Klonoff’s article is impressive in its comprehensive analysis of relevant recent developments.