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Steve Berman.

Lawyers on both sides of a high-profile case against Hyundai, citing a circuit split, have asked an en banc appeals panel to upend a ruling that they say threatens the future of nationwide class action settlements.

In dual petitions for rehearing filed on Thursday before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, plaintiffs attorneys and lawyers for defendants Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America Inc. both argued that an en banc panel should review a Jan. 23 decision that conflicts with the Third Circuit, and its own precedent. The 2-1 decision, which decertified the nationwide class in their settlement, also is contrary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Amchem Products v. Windsor, they wrote.

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“Class action litigation resembling this case is commonplace throughout the nation, and the panel majority decision will have broad, negative effects on the way class action litigation is conducted—to the extent that it does not render nationwide class treatment unfeasible altogether,” wrote Hyundai attorney Shon Morgan and James Azadian, who represents Kia. “Whatever one thinks of the class action device, the voluntary, fair and efficient resolution of such actions through nationwide settlements benefits all stakeholders: class members, defendants, as well as state and federal judicial systems. The panel majority’s decision severely jeopardizes these salutary outcomes.”

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Amanda Bronstad

Amanda Bronstad is the ALM staff reporter covering class actions and mass torts nationwide. She writes the email dispatch Critical Mass. She is based in Los Angeles.

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