Brief Fact Summary.
Defendant invented and sold Teflon cookware products that were associated with potential health hazards. Plaintiffs, who sought recovery for economic damages, moved to certify 23 classes, which generally set forth different causes of action, based on the laws of the particular jurisdiction involved.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A party seeking class certification must satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)and 23(b), as well as implicit requirements that the class definition ensures that membership is capable of ascertainment under an objective standard, and that class representatives are members of the proposed class.
A claim is barred by res judicata if it arises out of the same nucleus of operative facts as the prior claim.View Full Point of Law
Defendant invented and sold Teflon cookware products, which were associated with potential health hazards. Plaintiffs moved to certify 23 state-wide classes asserting various causes of action against Defendants related to the Teflon cookware products. None of the proposed class representatives alleged that they sustained injuries from using the cookware; rather, they sought recovery for economic damages. The class actions asserted different causes of action based on the laws of the particular jurisdictions involved.
Should the motion for certification of the 23 classes be granted?
No. Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the requirements for class certification.
First, too many infirmities existed in the sub-class definitions to ensure that the court would be able to determine objectively who was in the class. Even without these infirmities, and assuming that at least one viable class representative existed for each of the sub-classes, plaintiffs failed to establish thetypicality requirement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(3) and the adequacy of representation requirement of Rule 23(a)(4).