Help On the Way for Class Action Litigants in NJ?

Class action litigators generally recognize that most class actions rise and fall on the issue of class certification.  In New Jersey, the stakes are very high at the trial court level because a party seeking to challenge a ruling on class certification must litigate the matter to final judgment or request leave for interlocutory appeal, and interlocutory appeals are sparingly granted.    Given the expenses associated with class litigation, left with a choice of continuing the litigation or attempting to resolve, defendants frequently elect to settle class actions after the certification stage. 

 However, on May 21, 2012 the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee approved a bill (A894) that would allow appeals as of right to contest certification determinations.  While this would also provide plaintiffs the opportunity to immediately appeal a ruling denying certification, from the defense perspective this would be a welcome change inasmuch as underlying claims may present clear liability problems but significant issues, such as lack of commonality, can be raised as to class certification.

We will continue to monitor this legislation.

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