On June 12th, the Supreme Court issued its unsurprising decision in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, addressing a relatively recent twist concerning the appealability of orders denying class certification. The case resulted in unanimous agreement among the eight Justices who participated in it (Justice Gorsuch did not participate), but a five-three split among them as to whether the case should be decided on statutory grounds (supported by the majority) or constitutional grounds (supported by the minority). In the course of the debate over the decision’s rationale, Justice Thomas penned a paragraph that serves as a useful reminder concerning the nature of putative class litigation.
Of all the Court’s class certification cases, this must have been one of the easiest to decide. Put simply, the district court struck plaintiffs’ class allegations from the complaint, based on a class certification denial in an earlier case raising the same claims. After plaintiffs unsuccessfully petitioned the Ninth Circuit for interlocutory review under Rule 23(f), they were left with