law-books.jpgBy Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. and Laura Maechtlen

We were honored by Westlaw’s request that Seyfarth’s class action practitioners author an analysis of the SCOTUS ruling in Dukes, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for its Westlaw Journal Expert Commentary Series on complex litigation. Our article is hot off the press, and can be accessed here.

Our analysis of the SCOTUS ruling appeared in Westlaw Journal Expert Commentary Series as the lead article, alongside pieces by Professor Robin J. Effron of Brooklyn Law School and Dr. Tim Kaye of Stetson University College of Law, two leading academic scholars on class action litigation.

Our article analyzes the holdings in the SCOTUS opinion, as well as the impact of Dukes on the defense of workplace class action litigation, including how merits-based inquiries can now overlap with class certification elements; the viability of “social framework” theories for workplace bias class claims; the limits on expert presentations to advance or oppose class certification theories; how “trial by formula” theories are now inapplicable to certain types of class actions; the differences in litigating Rule 23(b)(3) certification theories and theories underlying “hybrid” class claims; what “incidental” class claims for money damages mean under Rule 23(b)(2) in the future; and the broader implications of the SCOTUS decision for employers and for workplace class actions.

Readers of our blog have recognized a laser-like focus on “Dukes developments” – starting from the day of the decision – and continuing through a series of federal and state court rulings in both workplace and non-workplace class actions (read more here, here, here, and here). Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), is quickly becoming one of the most often cited Supreme Court decisions in history. As it is the focus of any class certification briefing these days, and its reach goes far beyond workplace bias cases, we think there is much to be learned from the application of Dukes in all varieties of complex litigation.