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Posts Tagged ‘class certification’

Tomorrow, July 13, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EDT, I’ll be presenting on a panel of attorneys and experts discussing the use of surveys and statistics in class actions.  The presentation is part of the ABA’s Committee Roundtable series and is sponsored by the Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee.  Committee Roundtable events are free to ABA Section of Litigation members.  Click here to register.  See below for a copy of the program description:

 

Roundtable on Surveys and Statistics in Class Certification

Presented by:

Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee

Co-Sponsored by:
Securities Litigation Committee

Thursday, July 13, 2017 – 10:00 – 11:00 AM PST

Join this Roundtable to hear leading Plaintiff’s counsel, Defense counsel and experts discuss the following topics concerning the use of Surveys and Statistics in Class Certification:

  1. General primer on the different types of statistics and common terminology
  2. Summary of case law use of statistics in arguing for and against class certification
  3. Types of statistics commonly used in class actions
    • Regression analysis
      • Example of case where used – antitrust case alleging a conspiracy to increase prices
      • Explain how regression could be used to estimate impact
      • Macro-commonality (Are regression estimates of impact consistent across broad groups within the proposed class?)
      • Micro-commonality (How do the prices paid by individual members of proposed class compare to the estimated impact)
    • Surveys
      • Example of case where used – food labeling cases
      • Surveys (with conjoint analysis) combined with regression (or other econometric techniques) often used to attempt to isolate the price premium that resulted from the misleading aspect of the labeling
  4. Preparing and cross-examining experts on opinions involving statistics

Presented by:
Brendan P. Glackin (Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP)
D. Lee Heavner (Analysis Group, Inc.)
Paul Karlsgodt (Baker & Hostetler LLP)
Olivier Toubia (Columbia Business School)

Introduction by:
Tonna Farrar (Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman & Balint, PC)

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I will be speaking on a webinar panel with plaintiffs’ attorneys Keith J. Keogh and John G. Watts tomorrow discussing the latest trends in TCPA class action litigation.  This is a reprise of a program we have done several times over the past few years, but we’ll be covering quite a few new developments this time around, including recent decisions on ascertainability, consent, mootness, standing, and the definition of an ATDS under the statute, as well as current and potential future FCC developments that may impact TCPA litigation in the future.

Click here to visit the Strafford website for more information and to register.

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Price Waterhouse Coopers recently published an interesting study entitled Daubert challenges to financial experts, a yearly study of trends and outcomes, 2000–2015 (click the link to download a copy).

The study includes citations to recent opinions on the subject, along with practical insights from attorneys, including yours truly.  It concludes with a variety of useful statistics on the outcomes of Daubert challenges to financial experts, including the types of cases in which the change is made, the types of experts excluded, the jurisdictions in which exclusion rates are higher or lower, and the reasons for exclusion, among other things.  The study includes information on Daubert challenges in the class certification context that will no doubt prove useful in dealing with other types of experts as well as financial experts.  Be sure to check it out!

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The Supreme Court issued its decision today in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146, a case that many commentators predicted would provide an opportunity for the Court to limit or bar the use of statistical evidence as a substitute for common proof in class actions.  The majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy, rejected the invitation to create a “broad rule” limiting the use of statistical evidence, however.  Instead, the Court offered practical guidance on the situations in which statistical evidence may or may not be appropriate.  The relevant portion of the opinion is short and succinct, so I have quoted it in its entirety below:

[P]etitioner and various of its amici maintain that the Court should announce a broad rule against the use in class actions of what the parties call representative evidence. A categorical exclusion of that sort, however, would make little sense. A representative or statistical sample, like all evidence, is a means to establish or defend against liability. Its permissibility turns not on the form a proceeding takes—be it a class or individual action—but on the degree to which the evidence is reliable in proving or disproving the elements of the relevant cause of action. See Fed. Rules Evid. 401, 403, and 702.

It follows that the Court would reach too far were it to establish general rules governing the use of statistical evidence, or so-called representative evidence, in all class-action cases. Evidence of this type is used in various substantive realms of the law. Brief for Complex Litigation Law Professors as Amici Curiae 5–9; Brief for Economists et al. as Amici Curiae 8–10. Whether and when statistical evidence can be used to establish classwide liability will depend on the purpose for which the evidence is being introduced and on “the elements of the underlying cause of action,” Erica P. John Fund, Inc. v. Halliburton Co., 563 U. S. 804, 809 (2011).

In many cases, a representative sample is “the only practicable means to collect and present relevant data” establishing a defendant’s liability. Manual of Complex Litigation §11.493, p. 102 (4th ed. 2004). In a case where representative evidence is relevant in proving a plaintiff’s individual claim, that evidence cannot be deemed improper merely because the claim is brought on behalf of a class. To so hold would ignore the Rules Enabling Act’s pellucid instruction that use of the class device cannot “abridge . . . any substantive right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2072(b).

Those who were hoping for a rule barring statistical evidence as a proxy for common evidence in class actions will no doubt be disappointed, but Justice Kennedy’s opinion does go much further than it had to in beginning to develop standards that will govern resolution of the issue in future cases.  To summarize:

  1. There is no general rule barring the use of statistics to prove class-wide liability in a class action.
  2. The extent to which statistical evidence is allowable in a class action depends on whether the evidence is reliable in proving or disproving the elements of a relevant cause of action.
  3. Statistical evidence is admissible in a class action if it would be admissible in an individual action to prove or disprove elements of a plaintiffs’ claim.
  4. Whether statistical evidence can be used to establish class-wide liability depends on the purpose for which the evidence is being introduced and on “the elements of the underlying cause of action.”

As a final side-note, the decision in Tyson Foods does not appear to have been impacted at all by the recent death of Justice Scalia.  Only two of the eight remaining Justices, Justices Thomas and Alito, dissented.

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I authored a recent article on developments in data privacy class actions, which was published late last week as part of a year-in-review series on BakerHostetler’s Data Privacy Monitor.  For my article, titled 5 Big Developments in Privacy Class Actions in 2015, and 3 to Look for in 2016 and for other great content on data privacy issues, including class action developments, be sure to check out www.dataprivacymonitor.com.

 

 

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Thomson Reuters contributor Alison Frankel interviewed me for an article she posted today on the class action cases pending during the current Supreme Court term.  Here is a link to her article.  For those who are not familiar with Frankel’s On the Case Blog, be sure to add it to your regular reading list.  She is one of the best in the business.

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I just received my courtesy copy to the latest edition of the Akron Law Review, a symposium issue titled The Class Action After a Decade of Roberts Court Decisions, Volume 48, Issue 4 (2015).  My colleague Dustin Dow and I contributed an article entitled The Practical Approach: How the Roberts Court Has Enhanced Class Action Procedure by Strategically Carving at the Edges.  The contributors to the issue are academics, students, and practitioners from both sides of the bar, including Professor Bernadette Bollas Genetin, Professor Richard Freer, Elizabeth Cabraser, Professor Michael Selmi & Sylvia Tsakos, Andrew Trask, Professor Mark Moller, and Eric Alan Isaacson.  The articles range in perspective from theoretical to historical to practical, with some surveying the Roberts Court’s class action decisions generally, and others focusing on the Roberts Court’s contributions in key areas of the law.

For anyone who follows the Supreme Court’s decisions on class action issues, this is a must-read issue.  Check it out by clicking the link on the symposium title above.

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