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Posts Tagged ‘interlocutory appeal’

As reported by Yuma, AZ CBS affiliate KSWT TV, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an opinion today holding that denials of class certification are not subject to interlocutory appeal under the state’s regular appeals procedure.   A slip copy of the decision is available at the court’s website: Garza v. Swift Transportation Co., No. CV-08-0382-PR (Ariz., August 24, 2009).  It is important to note that the court recognized that interlocutory appeals of class certification decisions may still be allowed in “extraordinary” cases under the state’s “special action jurisdiction” rules.

In reaching the decision, the court overruled its own prior decision and instead relied on federal jurisprudence prior to the addition of FRCP 23(f) in 1998, which now expressly permits discretionary interlocutory appeals in the federal courts.  In addition to illustrating how state court rules on interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions may differ from the federal courts, the case reflects how state court rules may lag behind the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and how the state courts may apply outdated federal precedent in interpreting their own rules.

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According to the Daily Pilot and the California Chronicle, a California lawmaker has introduced a bill, AB 298, to allow defendants to file interlocutory appeals of class certification decisions.  The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Van Tran, has authored a guest blog post on The California Civil Justice Blog explaining the objectives behind the bill, which include helping the state’s economic recovery by promoting a better climate for business. 

It is unclear from the news articles or Tran’s blog post whether the bill would allow interlocutory appeal as of right or whether appeals would be discretionary, as they are under Rule 23(f), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Either way, the goal of creating an economic impact of any significance by simply allowing class action defendants to appeal class certification decisions seems somewhat overly optimistic, even assuming that the bill has any chance of passage.  Previous class action reform bills introduced over the past few years have not fared well, according to the California Chronicle article.

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I came across this article today from Australian news outlet The Age regarding proposed class action reforms being considered in the Australian Federal Court.  Among the possible reforms reportedly being considered is a measure “restricting an appeal on an interlocutory issue until the entire case is heard.”

The quoted statement is admittedly lacking in detail, but the article appears to be saying that interlocutory appeals are now allowed Australian class actions but would be prohibited if the reforms are adopted.  That would be an interesting change of direction considering that the trend in American class action reform has been to go from a prohibition on interlocutory (meaning before a final verdict or judgment) appeals in class actions to allowing them under some circumstances.

Rule 23(f), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for example, was amended in 1998 to allow interlocutory appeal of class action certification decisions.   (See my early entry here).  Changes to various U.S. state rules and statutes, including Colorado, regarding interlocutory appeal of class certification decisions have come even more recently.   For a summary of various states’ class action reforms, see this handy guide from the American Tort Reform Association.

For previous news and commentary on ClassActionBlawg.com regarding class action reforms being considered by the EU and several of its member countries, as well as Canada, see herehere, and here.

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