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Posts Tagged ‘daubert’

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’m pleased to announce that I’ll be chairing the Fourth Annual ABA Regional CLE Program on Class Actions and Mass Torts, to be held on June 16, 2017 at the offices of the Bar Association of San Francisco.  This year’s program features four presentations on hot topics in class action and mass tort litigation from an expert group of practitioners, academics, in-house counsel, and judges.  See below for summaries of the four presentations, and click the link below to see the full brochure and to register.  Hope to see you there!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Discovery Following the 2015 Federal Rules Amendments: What Does Proportionality Mean in the Class Action and Mass Tort Contexts?

It’s been about a year and a half since the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure went into effect, including amendments relating to proportionality governing both the scope discovery under Rule 26(b)(1) and preservation of potentially relevant ESI. But have the new rules changed the discovery available and relative obligations in class actions, mass torts, and other complex matters? This panel will review the purposes underlying the 2015 Amendments and how the law has been developing so far, and it will offer insights into best practices in expanding or limiting discovery in the class action and mass tort contexts.

Killer Class Actions or Endangered Species?

The United States Supreme Court has in recent years addressed an unprecedented number of issues related to class actions, ranging from “no injury” class actions to “trial by formula.” The panel of experienced class action practitioners will discuss the changing class action landscape and the potential lasting impact.

The Use of Expert Evidence in Class Actions: Effective Strategies and Pitfalls

The importance of expert testimony in class actions continues to increase, for example in connection with measuring class wide effects and satisfying class certification gate-keeping threshold questions. Topics to be discussed include 1) use of surveys in consumer class actions, when they are effective and how they can influence a case; 2) what can be learned from rare successful challenges about the utility of Daubert challenges in class action cases; 3) the challenges associated with the increasing technical requirements for class certification and implications of the importance of expert evidence on cases; 4) lessons learned and experience working with experts in class action matters.

Big Brother, Information Privacy, and Class Actions: How Big Data and Social Media are Changing the Class Action Landscape

Almost everyone has a smart phone these days, even your grandparents have social media accounts, and the amount of personal information that is generated about the average consumer on a daily basis is astronomical and growing exponentially. This panel will explore ways in which the emergence of big data and social media are impacting consumer class actions. Topics to be discussed include 1) consumer class actions that may arise from companies’ collection, use, or transfer of large amounts of consumer data; 2) changing attitudes on privacy of consumer data in the age of social media; and 3) the benefits and pitfalls of using social media and internet advertising in class action notice programs.

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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 October 2015 United States Supreme Court Term is already well underway, and there are several cases on the docket that could have a significant impact on class action practice.  Here is a summary of the three cases this term that I think could have the biggest impact on class action practice going forward:

Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857

The Campbell-Ewald case addresses the tactic known as “picking-off” named plaintiffs in class actions, and deals with the question whether an offer of judgment that would provide a named plaintiff complete relief is sufficient to moot the plaintiffs’ claim, even if it is not accepted.  The case follows the Court’s 2013 decision in Genesis Healthcare v. Symczyk, where the majority opinion assumed, without deciding, that an offer of judgment had mooted the named plaintiffs’ claim in an FLSA collective action, based on a finding that the issue had been waived below.

Oral argument in Campbell-Ewald was held in October.  Justices Alito, Scalia, and Chief Justice Roberts all displayed open hostility to the plaintiffs’ position that she should be allowed to litigate the case even after the defendant had offered everything she hoped to achieve for herself in the case.  Despite these views, however, it remains to be seen whether a majority of the court will ultimately hold that any unaccepted offer of settlement is sufficient to actually moot the plaintiffs’ claim under Article III, or whether the decision will fall short of reaching that sweeping question.  Some of the questions posed by likely swing voter, Justice Kennedy, suggest that he agrees with his conservative colleagues that a litigant who has been offered full relief should not be permitted to proceed with the case, but other questions reflected a reluctance to treat an unaccepted offer the same as a judgment.  This suggests that the Court’s ultimate decision could turn on a more technical procedural analysis rather than the broader and more abstract question of whether a controversy can ever exist following an offer of full relief, but of course the questions posed during oral argument do not always signal the Court’s ultimate analysis.

When the Supreme Court originally granted cert in Campbell-Ewald, there appeared to be a split in the circuits on this question, but since then, the circuits have become aligned with the view that an unaccepted offer in a proposed class action does not moot the named plaintiffs’ claims.  A contrary ruling by the Supreme Court would revive a powerful tool that defendants could wield to effectively preempt many types of consumer class actions, especially those seeking statutory damages for small individual amounts.

Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339

Spokeo has been hailed as a case with the potential to end “no-injury” class actions.  Ostensibly at issue is whether Congress has the power to enact legislation that gives a private plaintiff the right to seek statutory damages despite the lack of any concrete injury.  A decision could therefore potentially have a significant impact on class actions brought under a variety of federal statutes that provide a private right of action to recover statutory damages upon proof of a violation, one that goes beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the statute at issue in Spokeo.

However, during today’s oral argument, much of the questioning focused on whether the named plaintiff had, in fact, suffered an injury by alleging that false information had been published on his credit report, and the extent to which Congress actually intended to limit the private right of action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to persons who could show an actual injury.  It seems likely that the outcome of the case will turn on the majority’s view of those two factors.

Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, No. 14-1146

Tyson Foods offers the Court an opportunity to further elaborate on the concept of “trial by formula”, discussed in Justice Scalia’s 2011 opinion in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, as well as the standards governing expert testimony at the class certification phase, which the Court touched upon but did not  ultimately address directly in both Wal-Mart and again in the 2013 decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend.  It also raises the question whether it is ever proper to certify a damages class that includes individual plaintiffs that undisputedly lack any injury or damages.

Specifically, the Court granted certiorari on the following two questions:

I. Whether differences among individual class members may be ignored and a class action certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified under the Fair Labor Standards Act, where liability and damages will be determined with statistical techniques that presume all class members are identical to the average observed in a sample; and

II. Whether a class action may be certified or maintained under Rule 23(b)(3), or a collective action certified or maintained under the Fair Labor Standards Act, when the class contains hundreds of members who were not injured and have no legal right to any damages.

Oral argument in Tyson Foods is set for next Monday, November 10.

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In case you missed it, the BakerHostetler class action defense team published its second annual Year-End Review of Class Actions last month.  The 2013 issue was expertly edited by Dustin Dow of our Cleveland office, and features contributions from other members of the firm’s class action defense team across the country.  The 54-page report has a thorough recap of the key class action developments in the U.S. Supreme Court as well as other federal and state courts, summaries of key developments in various substantive areas of law in which class actions are prominent, and a preview of what to look for in 2014.  Click the link above to download a copy.

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2013 was a memorable year for class actions.  I’ve assembled my top 10 most significant developments below.  There were almost enough U.S. Supreme Court decisions to fill up the entire list, but my number 1 development was still a pair of lower court decisions that may also become the story of the year in 2014.

10. Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013) – Not a class action decision per se, but likely to have significant repercussions on the development of international class action law.  Extraterritorial effect of the Alien Tort Statute is significantly limited.

9. Clapper v. Amnesty Intern. USA, 133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013) – Another non-class action decision already having a significant impact on the question of standing in data privacy class actions.

8. Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, 133 S. Ct. 2064 (2013) – Class Arbitration is not completely dead, but there’s a blueprint for how to kill it.

7. American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, 133 S. Ct. 2304 (2013)- Arbitration continues to reign supreme, even under the “federal law of arbitrability”

6. Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523 (2013) – Can class actions be defeated simply by picking off the representatives one at a time?  That’s for the circuits to decide.

5. Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, 133 S.Ct. 1184 (2013) – Supreme Court holds that materiality is a common question and that proof of materiality is not a prerequisite to class certification, but raises questions about the continued viability of the Basic fraud on the market presumption in securities cases.

4. Certiorari granted in Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund, No 13-317 – That didn’t take long.  On the heels of , Supreme Court agrees to revisit the Basic fraud on the market presumption.

3. Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S.Ct. 1426 (2013) – Limited holding = damages theory has to match theory of liability.  Expansive holding = no class certification unless the question of damages is susceptible to common, classwide proof.  Which holding will be embraced by the lower courts?

2. Standard Fire Ins. Co. v Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013) – First ever CAFA decision limits representative plaintiffs’ ability to bind class prior to class certification.  Can’t avoid federal jurisdiction by stipulating to no more than $4,999,999.99 in damages on behalf of a putative class.

1. Moldy Washing Machine Decisions – Limited Comcast holding prevails so far.  Two lower courts reaffirm class certification orders after remand in light of Comcast.  Issue certification is alive and well, for the moment, but stay tuned to see if the Court takes up these cases in 2014.

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I’m very excited to be speaking at a Strafford Publications CLE webinar tomorrow entitled: Statistics in Class Action Litigation: Admissibility, Expert Witnesses and Impact of Comcast v. Behrend.   The program is scheduled for June 18, 2013 at  1:00pm-2:30pm EDT.  This is the third iteration of this presentation, which has been updated to offer insights in light of the Supreme Court’s Comcast decision earlier this term.  Brian Troyer of Thompson Hine in Cleveland and Justin Hopson and Rick Preston from Hitachi Consulting in Denver will be co-presenting.  Below is a synopsis of the program.  Click here for more information and to register:

Class certification standards have become more rigorous, and the skillful use of statistical evidence is an important part of class actions. Effectively employing or challenging statistics can make a difference in winning or losing a class certification motion.

Statistical evidence is introduced through expert witness testimony, and Daubert challenges may be an effective strategy. This raises the issue of the scope of the court’s inquiry into the merits at the class certification stage.

The 2011 Wal-Mart v. Dukes Supreme Court ruling underscored the prominent role of statistical evidence in assessing the merits at the certification stage. The Court’s recent Comcast v. Behrend ruling reinforces Dukes regarding merits assessments at class certification, thus impacting the continued role of statistical evidence.

Listen as our experienced panel examines statistical evidence in certification proceedings, the impact of Comcast v. Behrend and related case law, and best practices for using statistics and cross-examining witnesses.

Outline

  1. Role of statistical evidence in support of class certification
  2. Expert testimony and Daubert analysis at class certification stage
  3. Impact of Comcast v. Berhrend and Wal-Mart v. Dukes
  4. Science of statistics and cross-examining the statistics witness

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What is the impact of Comcast and Dukes upon the use of statistical analysis at class certification?
  • What strategies can counsel use to effectively cross-examine statistics witnesses?
  • What types of statistics can be introduced and what are the proper ways to utilize statistics?

Following the speaker presentations, you’ll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.

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