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NCLC filed an amicus brief arguing that such bifurcation violates the Florida rules governing class actions and the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process Clause.
The Florida Supreme Court permitted some of the jury’s findings to stand while decertifying the class action as to causation and damages issue.
This case was originally filed in 1994 and was certified as a class of Florida-only residents. It resulted in a punitive damages verdict of $145 billion in July 2000. A three-judge panel of Florida's Third District Court of Appeal set aside the verdict because, among other reasons, the class failed to meet virtually every legal requirement for class certification.
On appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, NCLC argued in its first filing that personal injury cases are not suited for classwide adjudication because they necessarily involve individual factual inquiries, are substantial enough to be brought individually, and force defendants into exorbitant settlements. For similar reasons, NCLC argued that fraud cases are not suited for class treatment, and finally, that class certification is inappropriate where the court must apply numerous states' laws.
Amicus brief filed 7/26/04. Oral argument held 11/3/04. Decided 7/6/06.
Amicus brief supporting rehearing filed 8/14/06. Rehearing denied 12/21/06.