U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


Cert. Denied


Questions Presented

In two related decisions, the Fifth Circuit held that a class may be certified consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and Article III of the Constitution even when the class includes vast numbers of members who have not suffered any injury caused by the defendant. On that basis, the court of appeals upheld a class-action settlement entered into between BP and a class of plaintiffs purportedly injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, notwithstanding the district court’s determination that the agreement requires BP to compensate claimants who have not suffered any injury as a result of the spill.

The Second, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits have adopted a contrary rule, concluding that certification is inappropriate where many members of the class have not been injured by the defendant. The question presented is whether the court of appeals erred in holding—in conflict with the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits—that district courts can, consistent with Rule 23 and Article III, certify classes that include numerous members who have not suffered any injury caused by the defendant.

Case Updates

Cert. petition denied

December 08, 2014

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to review no-injury class certification

September 04, 2014

In the coalition brief, the Chamber argued that the Fifth Circuit improperly interpreted a certified class in a way that expanded it to include parties never injured. The brief argued that the Fifth Circuit’s decision ignores settled principles of Article III standing and class action practice. This interpretation will ultimately reduce the assurance that settlement agreements will be implemented as intended. With such uncertainty, defendants may be considerably less likely to commit to settlement, knowing that the class of plaintiffs is subject to change at any time. The Chamber pointed out that if allowed to stand, it will become much more difficult for parties to resolve class actions through settlement. This would result in a vast increase in unnecessary litigation that will cost parties time and money and expend scarce judicial resources. Additionally, the likelihood that improper plaintiffs would receive unwarranted settlement distributions will increase. Consumers would also be harmed, since they will ultimately bear the burden of paying increased costs to fund the litigation of class actions. Ultimately, the Fifth Circuit’s current holding endangers the certainty of Rule 23 and Article III which should be provided in every class action. This important procedural function can be realized only if the parties can count on the court to apply fundamental principles assuring the and fairness of the class action procedure.

The Chamber filed the brief jointly with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Tort Reform Association, and the American Petroleum Institute.

Catherine E. Stetson and Jaclyn L. Dilauro of Hogan Lovells US LLP represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as co-counsel to the U.S. Chamber Litigaiton Center.

Case Documents