Supreme Court Holds That Voluntary Dismissal Does Not Permit Appellate Review of Class Certification Orders
This morning, the Supreme Court held 8-0 in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker that the named plaintiffs in a class action cannot appeal a denial of class certification (or the granting of a motion to strike class allegations) by voluntarily dismissing their claims. A five-Justice majority held that this tactic was barred because a voluntary dismissal under these circumstances does not constitute a “final order” under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, while three Justices concurred in the judgment on the basis that such a voluntary dismissal extinguishes the adversity necessary to give rise to Article III standing. (The Consumer Law Roundup has covered Baker in three previous posts.)
In Baker, the plaintiffs had filed a putative class action against Microsoft alleging that a defect in the Xbox 360 resulted in scratched discs. After the district court granted Microsoft’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ class allegations, the named plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against Microsoft so that there would be a “final decision” from which they could appeal the denial of class certification. The Ninth Circuit held, inter alia, that a stipulated dismissal of an individual claim is an adverse and appealable final judgment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to address this jurisdictional issue and subsequently reversed.