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Whether the American Pipe rule tolls statutes of limitations to permit a previously absent class member to bring a subsequent class action outside the applicable limitations period.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a plaintiff may not bring a new class action beyond the applicable statute of limitations period where a previous class action had been dismissed. This will limit the ability of the plaintiffs’ bar to file serial class action complaints against companies in order to game the statute of limitations.
Click here to view the amicus brief filed by the U.S. Chamber, Retail Litigation Center, Inc. and American Tort Reform Association.
Mark A. Perry, David A. Schnitzer, Charlotte A. Lawson, and Rachel S. Brass of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as co-counsel for the amici.
In American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah (1974), the Supreme Court held that the commencement of a class action tolls the statute of limitations for all purported members of the class. Once class certification has been denied, however, tolling ends and absent class members must timely file an individual claim or move to intervene in the suit. A Ninth Circuit panel recently extended the American Pipe rule, holding that tolling applies not only through the initial denial of class certification, but extends to a subsequent class action seeking a second bite at the apple. This approach would allow lawyers seeking to represent a plaintiff class to extend the statute of limitations almost indefinitely.
The U.S. Chamber and Retail Litigation Center filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to grant the petition for review.
Mark A. Perry, Rachel Brass, and David A. Schnitzer of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as co-counsel for the amici.