“Plaintiffs’ attempt to erode the Third Circuit’s ascertainability rule, if successful, would have disastrous consequences for litigants and the courts.”
—Cory Andrews, WLF General Counsel & Vice President of Litigation
Click here for WLF’s brief.
WASHINGTON, DC— Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to affirm a federal trial court’s refusal to certify a class for which no administratively feasible way exists to identify class members.
The case arises out of a settlement agreement resolving patent-infringement litigation between the manufacturer of the brand-name drug Niaspan and a generic manufacturer. Plaintiffs filed suit under various state antitrust laws, alleging that the settlement agreement was anticompetitive. But the district court denied, on ascertainability grounds, the plaintiffs’ request to certify a class of all end-payors. The district court held that the plaintiffs had failed to provide a reliable and administratively feasible means of distinguishing between class members and other entities that are rightly excluded from the class.
In its amicus brief urging affirmance, WLF warned that that Plaintiffs’ lax approach to ascertainability would drastically lower the bar for class certification. In contrast, the Third Circuit’s robust ascertainability standard serves several vital interests. First, it eliminates heavy administrative burdens that are inconsistent with the efficiencies that Rule 23 requires in class actions. Second, it protects the opt-out rights of absent class members who have an interest in not having future claims diluted. And third, it safeguards defendants’ interests in paying only legitimate claims and ensuring that persons bound by a final judgment are clearly identifiable.
Celebrating its 45th year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.