June 11, 2018 Practice Points

Supreme Court Does Not Extend American Pipe’s Tolling Provisions to Individual Class Members Seeking to File Subsequent Class Actions

The Court resolved a circuit split as to whether the tolling rule set forth in the Court’s American Pipe opinion permitted the filing of new, otherwise time-barred class actions by putative class members.

By Joshua D. Jones

On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court entered a unanimous opinion in China Agritech v. Resh. In doing so, the court resolved a circuit split as to whether the tolling rule set forth in the Court’s American Pipe opinion permitted the filing of new, otherwise time-barred class actions by putative class members. When addressing the same issue currently before the Court, the Ninth Circuit had held that not only were plaintiffs’ individual claims tolled during the pending of a class action in which they were purported members, but so too were claims that such plaintiffs could have brought on behalf of a putative class. In rejecting this view, the Supreme Court held that, upon denial of class certification, a putative class member may not commence a class action that would otherwise barred by the applicable statute of limitations. In so holding, the Court noted that a contrary finding “would allow the statute of limitations to be extended time and again” and that such “[e]ndless tolling of a statute of limitations is not a result envisioned by American Pipe.”

 

Joshua D. Jones is a principal with Bressler, Amery & Ross PC in Birmingham, Alabama.


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Joshua D. Jones – June 11, 2018