Comcast Corp v. Behrend

Docket No., 11-864

Argument Date: November 5, 2012

Questions Presented

Granted limited to the following question: “Whether a district court may certify a class action without resolving whether the plaintiff class has introduced admissible evidence, including expert testimony, to show that the case is susceptible to awarding damages on a class-wide basis.”

This Court recently reiterated that district courts must engage in a "'rigorous analysis'" to ensure that the "party seeking class certification [can] affirmatively demonstrate his compliance" with Rule 23. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2551 (2011) (quoting Gen. Tel. Co. of Sw. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 161 (1982)). Disavowing an allegedly contrary suggestion in Eisen v. Carlisle & Jacquelin, 417 U.S. 156 (1974), Dukes emphasized that district courts are required to resolve any "merits question[s]" bearing on class certification, even if the plaintiffs "will surely have to prove [those issues] again at trial in order to make out their case on the merits." 131 S. Ct. at 2552 n.6.

In this case, however, the Third Circuit repeatedly invoked the disavowed aspect of Eisen in declining to consider several "merits arguments" directly relevant to the certification analysis.

The question presented is whether a district court may certify a class action without resolving "merits arguments" that bear on Rule 23's prerequisites for certification, including whether purportedly common issues predominate over individual ones under Rule 23(b)(3).

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