The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and its various district courts saw a dramatic increase in class action activity in 2008. Fifth Circuit courts decided 24 cases in 2008 that substantively address Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (“Rule 23”). By way of contrast, Fifth Circuit courts in 2007 decided only 17 cases that substantively addressed Rule 23. In 2007, Fifth Circuit courts certified five classes. Ironically, this year they certified just two.
This year, Fifth Circuit courts addressed Rule 23 issues impacting securities litigation, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), the Class Action Fairness Act, Vioxx and Fen-Phen drug litigation, prisoners’ rights, and immigration law. Like last year, several Hurricane Katrina and Rita-related class action cases made their way onto Louisiana and Mississippi dockets.
Below is a summary of Fifth Circuit, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana district court opinions substantively addressing Rule 23. Although few, if any, of these cases substantially alter the Rule 23 landscape, several address some of the Rule’s more litigated features, including class certification pursuant to Rules 23(b)(2) & (3). The following cases provide valuable insight into litigating class action issues in the Fifth Circuit.