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Supreme Court to Address Class Certification Issues in New Term


While this blog regularly discusses the requirements for class action certification and various cases which use those requirements. Recently we mentioned a class action against Comcast which is currently being considered by the Supreme Court to determine what is necessary for class certification. Along with the Comcast lawsuit is another class action lawsuit against the biotech company, Amgen, Inc. Amgen is getting sued by its investors for allegedly providing misleading information regarding the safety and effectiveness of its anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen. Like Comcast, Amgen is claiming that the class of investors did not provide enough material evidence to qualify for certification.

In both cases, the federal appeals courts ruled that, for the purposes of certification, it is not necessary for the plaintiffs to prove damages. It is enough for them merely to prove that their claims are similar enough to render multiple individual lawsuits redundant. Proof of damages, according to the lower courts, should be held until the trial.

The cases of Comcast and Amgen have divided the Supreme Court. Some of the judges argue that to require plaintiffs to prove their case before achieving certification places too high a burden on the plaintiffs at a very early stage in the proceedings. Others argue that certification should be more difficult to attain, since a certified class puts pressure on defendants to reach a settlement. If the Supreme Court decides to rule in favor of the defendants, it would forever change the process of achieving class action certification.

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