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Class Actions Litigation Products Liability

Will Ascertainability Split Finally Be Resolved?

Despite requests for change, the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules declined to include ascertainability in its proposed changes to Rule 23. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected two petitions for certiorari earlier this year that would have addressed ascertainability.

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In the context of civil class action litigation, “ascertainability” includes the identification of individuals who qualify for class membership. Although not an explicit Rule 23 requirement, since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision in Carrera v. Bayer Corporation, 727 F.3d 300 (3d Cir. 2013), federal appeals courts have been divided over the significance and scope of the ascertainability requirement, particularly in litigation involving low-cost consumer goods as consumers may not retain receipts for such items to document proof of purchase.

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