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Class Certification In The U.S. Courts Of Appeals: A Longitudinal Study, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2021

Class Certification In The U.S. Courts Of Appeals: A Longitudinal Study, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

There is a vast literature on the modern class action, but little of it is informed by systematic empirical data. Mindful both that there have been few Supreme Court class certification decisions and that they may not provide an accurate picture of class action jurisprudence, let alone class action activity, over time, we created a comprehensive data set of class certification decisions in the United States Courts of Appeals consisting of all precedential panel decisions addressing whether a class should be certified from 1966 through 2017, and of nonprecedential panel decisions from 2002 through 2017.

In Section I, through a ...


Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We find that the ideological composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having dramatically higher rates of procertification outcomes than all-Republican panels—nearly triple in about the past twenty years. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence ...


Just And Speedy: On Civil Discovery Sanctions For Luddite Lawyers, Michael Thomas Murphy Jan 2017

Just And Speedy: On Civil Discovery Sanctions For Luddite Lawyers, Michael Thomas Murphy

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article presents a theoretical model by which a judge could impose civil sanctions on an attorney - relying in part on Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - for that attorney’s failure to utilize time- and expense-saving technology.

Rule 1 now charges all participants in the legal system to ensure the “just, speedy and inexpensive” resolution of disputes. In today’s litigation environment, a lawyer managing a case in discovery needs robust technological competence to meet that charge. However, the legal industry is slow to adopt technology, favoring “tried and true” methods over efficiency. This conflict is ...


Class Actions And The Counterrevolution Against Federal Litigation, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2017

Class Actions And The Counterrevolution Against Federal Litigation, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this article we situate consideration of class actions in a framework, and fortify it with data, that we have developed as part of a larger project, the goal of which is to assess the counterrevolution against private enforcement of federal law from an institutional perspective. In a series of articles emerging from the project, we have documented how the Executive, Congress and the Supreme Court (wielding both judicial power under Article III of the Constitution and delegated legislative power under the Rules Enabling Act) fared in efforts to reverse or dull the effects of statutory and other incentives for ...


The Triangle Of Law And The Role Of Evidence In Class Action Litigation, Jonah B. Gelbach Jan 2017

The Triangle Of Law And The Role Of Evidence In Class Action Litigation, Jonah B. Gelbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, a "donning and doffing" case brought under Iowa state law incorporating the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime pay provisions, the petitioners asked the Supreme Court to reject the use of statistical evidence in Rule 23(b)(3) class certification. To its great credit, the Court refused. In its majority opinion, the Court cited both the Federal Rules of Evidence and federal common law interpreting the FLSA. In this paper, I take a moderately deep dive into the facts of the case, and the three opinions penned by Justice Kennedy (for the Court), Chief Justice ...


The Subterranean Counterrevolution: The Supreme Court, The Media, And Litigation Retrenchment, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2016

The Subterranean Counterrevolution: The Supreme Court, The Media, And Litigation Retrenchment, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article is part of a larger project to study the counterrevolution against private enforcement of federal law from an institutional perspective. In a series of articles emerging from the project, we show how the Executive, Congress and the Supreme Court (wielding both judicial power under Article III of the Constitution and delegated legislative power under the Rules Enabling Act) fared in efforts to reverse or dull the effects of statutory and other incentives for private enforcement. An institutional perspective helps to explain the outcome we document: the long-term erosion of the infrastructure of private enforcement as a result of ...


Scott V. Harris And The Future Of Summary Judgment, Tobias Barrington Wolff Jul 2015

Scott V. Harris And The Future Of Summary Judgment, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Supreme Court’s decision in Scott v. Harris has quickly become a staple in many Civil Procedure courses, and small wonder. The cinematic high-speed car chase complete with dash-cam video and the Court’s controversial treatment of that video evidence seem tailor-made for classroom discussion. As is often true with instant classics, however, splashy first impressions can mask a more complex state of affairs. At the heart of Scott v. Harris lies the potential for a radical doctrinal reformation: a shift in the core summary judgment standard undertaken to justify a massive expansion of interlocutory appellate jurisdiction in qualified ...


Discretion In Class Certification, Tobias Barrington Wolff Jan 2014

Discretion In Class Certification, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A district court has broad discretion in deciding whether a suit may be maintained as a class action. Variations on this phrase populate the class action jurisprudence of the federal courts. The power of the federal courts to exercise discretion when deciding whether to permit a suit to proceed as a class action has long been treated as an elemental component of a representative proceeding. It is therefore cause for surprise that there is no broad consensus regarding the nature and definition of this judicial discretion in the certification process. The federal courts have not coalesced around a clear or ...


Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Jan 2014

Litigation Reform: An Institutional Approach, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The program of regulation through private litigation that Democratic Congresses purposefully created starting in the late 1960s soon met opposition emanating primarily from the Republican party. In the long campaign for retrenchment that began in the Reagan administration, consequential reform proved difficult and ultimately failed in Congress. Litigation reformers turned to the courts and, in marked contrast to their legislative failure, were well-rewarded, achieving growing rates of voting support from an increasingly conservative Supreme Court on issues curtailing private enforcement under individual statutes. We also demonstrate that the judiciary’s control of procedure has been central to the campaign to ...


Litigation And Democracy: Restoring A Realistic Prospect Of Trial, Stephen B. Burbank, Stephen N. Subrin Jan 2011

Litigation And Democracy: Restoring A Realistic Prospect Of Trial, Stephen B. Burbank, Stephen N. Subrin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this essay we review some of the evidence confirming, and some of the reasons underlying, the phenomenon of the vanishing trial in federal civil cases and examine some of the costs of that phenomenon for democratic values, including in particular democratic values represented by the right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment. We discuss the Supreme Court’s recent pleading decisions in Twombly and Iqbal as examples of procedural attacks on democracy in four dimensions: (1) they put the right to jury trial in jeopardy; (2) they undercut the effectiveness of congressional statutes designed to compensate citizens ...


Redeeming The Missed Opportunities Of Shady Grove, Stephen B. Burbank, Tobias Barrington Wolff Jan 2010

Redeeming The Missed Opportunities Of Shady Grove, Stephen B. Burbank, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates v. Allstate Insurance Co., a closely watched case decided in the 2009–10 Term, presented the Court with an opportunity to speak to two related problems under the Rules Enabling Act that have languished for decades without proper resolution. The first involves a broad interpretive question: How can the limitations on rulemaking authority contained in the Act be applied in a manner that reflects the separation-of-powers concerns that animated them while also exhibiting respect for the state regulatory arrangements that govern much of our economic and social activity? The second problem involves the intersection of the ...


Pleading And The Dilemmas Of “General Rules”, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2009

Pleading And The Dilemmas Of “General Rules”, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article comments on Professor Geoffrey Miller’s article about pleading under Tellabs and goes on (1) to use Tellabs, Bell Atlantic Corp. v Twombly, and Iqbal v. Hasty (in which the Court has granted review) to illustrate the limits of, and costs created by, certain foundational assumptions and operating principles that are associated with the Rules Enabling Act’s requirement of “general rules,” and (2) more generally, to illustrate the costs of the complex procedural system that we have created. Thus, for instance, the argument that the standards emerging from Twombly should be confined to antitrust conspiracy cases confronts ...