U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2010 Term

Oral Argument Date

January 18, 2011


Questions Presented

1. Among the elements for the doctrine of collateral estoppel to be used in support of the relitigation exception to the Anti-Injunction Act are requirements that the state parties sought to be estopped are the same parties or in privity with parties to the prior federal litigation and that issues necessary to the resolution of the proceedings are also identical. In determining whether issues are identical, courts have also recognized that state courts should have discretion to apply their own procedural rules in a manner different from their federal counterparts. Can the district court's injunction be affirmed when neither the parties sought to be estopped nor the issues presented are identical?

2. It is axiomatic that everyone should have his own day in court and that one is not bound by a judgment in personam in a litigation in which he has not been made a party by designation or service of process. One exception to this rule are absent members of a class in a properly conducted class action because of the due-process protections accorded such absent members once class certification has been granted. Does a district court have personal jurisdiction over absent members of a class for purposes of enjoining them from seeking class certification in state court when a properly conducted class action had never existed before the district court because it had denied class certification and due-process protections had never been afforded the absent members?

Case Updates

Supreme Court affirms relitigation of class certification decisions

June 16, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a federal court decision refusing to certify a class action could not be invoked to bar an attempt to obtain certification of the same class in an action in state court because the issues were different.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

December 20, 2010

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to affirm an Eighth Circuit decision that members of a putative national class action are not allowed to circumvent a federal court’s class certification denial by re-litigating the same certification issues in a state court. In this case, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in a West Virginia state court for alleged harm from a cholesterol drug. The plaintiffs' lawsuit was filed after a federal district court denied class certification for similar claims. In its brief, NCLC argued that unless federal court denials of class certification preclude efforts in state courts to certify the same class action, then plaintiffs would be able to re-litigate the same class certification issues over and over until they find a favorable court. NCLC warned that allowing the re-litigation of these claims would encourage serial litigation and force companies into accepting extortionate settlements.

Case Documents