This seminar will examine current issues in class action litigation, with a focus on the federal class action Rule 23 and the comparative Texas class action Rule 42. The course will introduce students to an in-depth examination of the class action litigation fundamentals, including: a historical overview of the class action mechanism; the original equity rules; original Fed. R. Civ. P. 23; promulgation of the modern Fed. R. Civ. 23, class certification requirements (implicit requirements, numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy); the Rule 23(b) categories and requirements; problems and strategic considerations in litigating class actions (from the plaintiffs' and defense perspectives); class action discovery; dispositive motions; trial plans and trial structure; class notice; communications with class members; statutes of limitations; jurisdictional issues; resolution of class actions (settlement classes, attorneys fees); and avenues for appellate review of class action orders.
The course also will focus on selected special topics in emerging and evolving class action jurisprudence, including but not limited to such problems as punitive damage classes; limited issues classes; medical monitoring class actions; securities fraud and shareholder derivative litigation; defendant class actions; mechanisms for financing class litigation; and the 2002 proposed amendments to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 (including the debates and materials produced by the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and the Standing Committee on Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Courts).
The basic text for this seminar is: Klonoff, Bilich and Malveaux, CLASS ACTIONS AND OTHER MULTI-PARTY LITIGATION: CASES AND MATERIALS (West Group 2006). In addition, students will read an array of secondary source materials, law review articles, and legislative materials relating to current issues in class action practice, procedure, and theory.
This is a writing seminar. Each student in the seminar will be required to complete four short papers of approximately five pages, singled-spaced text. Each paper will analytically present and discuss a problem relating to class action litigation that forms the basis for the weekly reading assignments. Each student, at the beginning of the semester, chooses the paper topics and timing of the papers. Detailed instructions concerning the format and content of these papers are supplied to seminar students during the first class session.