Cruz-Alvarez_FFeatured Regular Expert Column

Frank Cruz-Alvarez, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. (co-authored with Talia Zucker, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P.)

On January 24, 2013, in Soper v. Tire Kingdom, Inc., No. SC11-1462, — So. 3d —, 2013 WL 264441 (Fla. Jan. 24, 2013), the Florida Supreme Court took its most recent step to further distance itself from the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, — U.S. —, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011).  Despite Wal-Mart’s comprehensive analysis of the commonality requirement for class certification, the Florida Supreme Court insists on watering down what commonality means and how it is applied.

As Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady rightly observed in Soper, the Sunshine State’s class action laws have undergone a “sea change”, beginning one and a half years ago – post Wal-Mart­ – with the decision of Sosa v. Safeway Premium Finance Company, 73 So. 3d 91 (Fla. 2011).  See Soper, 2013 WL 264441 at *2 (Canady, J., dissenting) (emphasizing that “[t]he majority’s commonality analysis in Sosa cannot be reconciled with the reasoning of Wal-Mart.”).