Drinker Biddle partner Seamus C. Duffy spoke at The Knowledge Group’s live webcast, “Heightened Ascertainability in Class Actions - Is it Time to Say Goodbye?” on Thursday, July 14, 2016.
In Mullins v. Direct Digital, LLC, the Seventh Circuit swept away the “heightened ascertainability” requirement for class certification. This requirement, prominently adopted in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and percolating across various courts, including some of the district courts in the Seventh Circuit, mandates a showing of a “reliable and administratively feasible” method to individually identify class members. The Seventh Circuit squarely rejected this heightened requirement in favor of a “weak” ascertainability requirement—namely, that a class must be clearly defined and based on objective criteria—and deepened the circuit split on ascertainability in the process. The U.S. Supreme Court recently chose not to review the Mullins decision.
Seamus and the panelists examined what this ruling means for the future of ascertainability in class actions, including the potential for the courts to eventually waive the requirement entirely. Experienced attorneys delved into the details of class certification, from initiation to parameters of potential suits to preparation for additional changes to requirements.
Key topics included:
- Petition for a Writ of Certiorari - Legal Framework
- Identifying Prerequisites to Class Certification
- "Ascertainability" Requirements
- Scope and Limitations
- Recent Developments