Co-authored by Dana Howells and Jennifer Riley

In a previous post on Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., a panel of the Seventh Circuit used the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651(a), to halt a consumer class action brought in California that was essentially a copycat of an earlier case where the Seventh Circuit had denied class certification. Our previous post on November 8 recounts the convoluted history of the class action. Plaintiff’s petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc was denied on December 2, 2010, with not a single judge voting in favor [view ruling].

Judge Richard Posner wrote an opinion nonetheless to answer the arguments advanced by plaintiffs’ counsel in seeking a rehearing en banc. Judge Posner’s observations on the nature of class action abuses, supported by copious citations, are nothing short of extraordinary. Well worth a quick read, it lays out the economic metrics in class actions and attacks the abuses inherent in certain types of class actions where class counsel’s fees drive the litigation dynamics.