Copyright © 2017 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
On June 23, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the second Halliburton appeal in which the Court vacated a prior class certification ruling in favor of requiring more rigorous scrutiny into a plaintiff’s ability to meet the requirements for certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This decision is the latest in a series of opinions in which the Supreme Court has made clear that plaintiffs face significant challenges at class certification, including the need to secure expert testimony to support their class certification motions. Halliburton II is, thus, further proof that the law has evolved beyond the point where plaintiffs may avoid defeat at class certification by simply arguing that the issues raised by defendants overlap with the “merits” and, thus, should be addressed by the court later in the case. Even though Halliburton II dealt with claims brought pursuant to the federal securities laws, this recent decision is helpful to any defendant facing class claims and can be cited as further support for requiring specific proof from plaintiffs that they have satisfied each Rule 23 requirement before granting certification. Halliburton II also makes clear a defendant’s right at class certification to challenge in a meaningful way the evidentiary support, or lack thereof, on which plaintiffs’ certification motion is based.