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Law dean’s scholarship cited in SCOTUS class-action ruling

June 23, 2011

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The Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States cited a report co-authored by Dean of the Law School Robert Klonoff in a major class-action decision handed down in the case Smith v. Bayer Corp.

As a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), an organization comprised of accomplished judges, practicing lawyers, and legal scholars, Klonoff served on the Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation project, which was charged with evaluating the class-action process and providing recommendations that ensure fairness to the class bringing the suit and improve the efficiency of the process. Klonoff and three other reporters published the project in 2010.

In an opinion authored by Justice Elena Kagen, the Court referenced Klonoff’s report, stating, “The great weight of scholarly authority—from the Restatement of Judgments to the American Law Institute to Wright and Miller—agrees that an uncertified class action cannot bind proposed class members.”

The case concerned, “the ability of consumers unaware of pending class action lawsuits to raise additional issues in their own class action suits against corporate wrongdoers…[The decision] ensures that the rules blocking plaintiffs from bringing class actions remain narrow, promoting individuals’ ability to hold corporations liable for their actions.” Read the full recap on the Justice Watch blog.

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