Next month I'll be speaking on a panel at the ABA's' National Class Actions Institute. I've spoken at several ABA class action programs in the past, and this will be my second time participating in the Institute. One of the benefits of participating in these programs is that you get to interact with a number of very smart and engaged faculty members, including those who view the world through lenses different from your own.
The panel I'm on this year will be talking about class definitions. In our pre-event planning sessions, I've learned that some people believe that defendants and courts who disfavor class actions are exploiting the growing jurisprudence on class definitions to defeat certification. They believe that faulty class definitions usually can, and should, be fixed through wordsmithing, and should rarely, if ever, cause class certification to be denied. My own view is that problematic class definitions often point to the underlying reasons why certain cases are not properly susceptible of class treatment, and that no amount of wordsmithing can turn a non-certifiable case into one that can or should be certified.
We'll go into much more depth on these issues at the program, and I know we'll have a fun and vigorous debate. I hope to see you there.