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Keeping the Gate: Seventh Circuit Explains Why District Court Judges Cannot 'Duck Hard Questions' Regarding Daubert in Class Certification Motions

June 17, 2010

By Peter C. Meier

In American Honda Motor Co. v. Allen, (No. 09-8051), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that courts must scrutinize scientific evidence at the class certification stage, say attorneys John P. Phillips, Peter C. Meier, and Christopher M. Mooney in this BNA Insight. The April 7 decision, which has far-reaching implications for federal toxic tort practice, follows a line of emerging authority that expands on the "rigorous analysis" district courts must apply to each class certification factor under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

Although the ruling will undoubtedly require more time-consuming pre-certification proceedings as courts scrutinize the admissibility of expert testimony at an early stage, the authors say the process will help weed out meritless cases, minimizing any leverage that plaintiffs might obtain from unwise class certification orders.

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