Heightened Standards: What Wal-Mart v. Dukes Means for Future Class-Action and Consumer Finance Litigation

Westlaw Journal
15 minute read | August.25.2011

“The class action is 'an exception to the usual rule that litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual named parties.’”1

On June 20, Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated certification of arguably the largest class in U.S. history and considerably redefined class-action and consumer-finance litigation. The court resolved a circuit split on the “commonality” provision of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(2) and held that the plaintiffs must have “significant proof” ready to support their claim at the class certification stage. The court also held that the plaintiffs cannot seek individualized monetary relief under Rule 23(b)(2).

Although Dukes is a labor and employment case under Title VII, the court’s decision will undoubtedly impact other class cases significantly, including an increasing number of consumer-finance class-action lawsuits.

Reprinted with permission, Thomson Publishing, 2011.