California Supreme Court

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California Supreme Court affirms decision that “trial by formula” denies defendant's right to defend itself

May 29, 2014

The California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision in its entirety.

NCLC files amicus brief

April 02, 2013

NCLC urged the California Supreme Court to affirm the Court of Appeal's judgment that the trial court abused its discretion by approving a “trial by formula” that modified California substantive law and denied the defendant its due process right to present its defenses to liability. In this case, the trial court refused to permit the defendant to present evidence that at least 78 of 260 total class members lacked valid claims and instead allowed the plaintiff to show liability against all class members through statistical sampling. NCLC argued in its amicus brief that this decision is wrong because statistical sampling must not be permitted to establish class liability when the defendant has presented evidence showing defenses to the claims of individual class members. Misusing statistical sampling in this way violates the defendant’s due process right to defend the claims against it and also contravenes the fundamental rule that class action procedure not alter the parties’ substantive rights. NCLC warned that if this decision is allowed to stand, a trial by formula will unfairly pressure defendants to settle class actions and burden the state’s economy.

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