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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In this interlocutory appeal, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. challenges an order certifying a class of its Texas policyholders who seek refunds or dividends from the company’s surplus. The court of appeals affirmed. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court holds that the trial court abused its discretion in certifying a class without formulating a trial plan confirming that it has rigorously analyzed the requirements of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 42. Because the trial court’s certification order addressed neither the choice-of-law issue State Farm raised nor the potential antagonism between present and past policyholders, it failed to reflect the rigorous analysis that the court requires for all class-certification prerequisites, including Rule 42(a)’s typicality and adequate-representation requirements. Accordingly, the court of appeals’ decision conflicts with Southwestern Refining Co. v. Bernal, 22 S.W.3d 425 (Tex. 2000). State Farm argued that the trial court’s certification order reflected the “approach of certify now and worry later” rejected in Bernal, and notes that Bernal requires courts to “go ‘beyond the pleadings’ and ‘understand the claims, defenses, relevant facts, and applicable substantive law in order to make a meaningful determination of certification issues.’” These arguments were sufficient to inform the court of appeals of State Farm’s essential complaint. State Farm argues that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to conduct a rigorous analysis of class-certification requirements indicating how the claims can and likely will be tried. Specifically, State Farm claims the trial court developed no plan to assure that the fundamentally conflicting economic interests among Texas policyholders are adequately represented. The divergent interests of different groups of current and former policyholders from different years, each of which would compete for a share of the alleged surplus, cannot possibly be adequately represented by one class with one counsel, State Farm claims. In addition, State Farm contends the trial court wholly failed to consider protecting the interests of policyholders from states other than Texas. Finally, State Farm contends the trial court failed to consider application of Illinois law to the policyholders’ claims, which in State Farm’s view would defeat the class. The court agrees that the trial court’s certification order is infirm in each of these respects. It also rejects the policyholders’ argument that Bernal’s rigorous-analysis requirement applies only to predominance and superiority. A trial plan is required in every certification order to allow reviewing courts to assure that all requirements for certification under Rule 42 have been satisfied. The formulation of a trial plan assures that a trial court has fulfilled its obligation to rigorously analyze all certification prerequisites, and “‘understand[s] the claims, defenses, relevant facts, and applicable substantive law in order to make a meaningful determination of the certification issues.’” OPINION:O’Neill, J., delivered the court’s opinion. Smith and Medina, JJ., did not participate.

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