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April 30, 2010

By: Julia B. Strickland, Stephen J. Newman

The United States Supreme Court recently issued four opinions that will significantly affect consumer and other class action litigation in the federal courts. These decisions may both deter plaintiffs from filing in, and defendants from removing to, federal court. Adverse to the plaintiffs' bar is the Supreme Court's ruling on attorneys' fees in Perdue v. Kenny A., No. 08-970 (U.S. Apr. 21, 2010), and its ruling on class arbitration in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animalfeeds Int'l Corp., No. 08-1198 (Apr. 27, 2010).

Conversely, the Supreme Court's rejection of state procedural limitations on class actions and aggregation of statutory damages in Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 08-1008 (U.S. Mar. 31, 2010), and its rejection of bona fide legal error as a defense to federal statutory claims in Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA, No. 08-1200 (U.S. Apr. 21, 2010), may discourage defendants from removing class actions to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act ("CAFA") or otherwise.

We summarize these in this Stroock Special Bulletin; we would be pleased to provide greater detail upon request.