Class Actions — Circuit Split as to Whether Standing Should Be Addressed Prior to Class Certification

Hunnicutt v. Zeneca, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133634 (N.D. Okla. Sept. 19, 2012):

The Tenth Circuit has indicated that courts should generally address standing prior to class certification. See Thomas v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 631 F.3d 1153, 1159 (10th Cir. 2011) ("Prior to class certification, the named plaintiffs' failure to maintain a live case or controversy is fatal to the case as a whole - that unnamed plaintiffs might have a case or controversy is irrelevant."); Rector v. City and Cnty. of Denver, 348 F.3d 935, 950 (10th Cir. 2003) (holding that no named plaintiff had standing to bring certain claims and remanding for decertification as to such claims). This Court and other district courts within the Tenth Circuit are in accord. Stephenson Oil Co. v. Citgo Petroleum Corp., 271 F.R.D. 323, 332 (N.D. Okla. 2010) ("'[I]t is well-settled that prior to the certification of a class, and technically speaking before undertaking any formal typicality or commonality review, the district court must determine that at least one named class representative has Article III standing to raise each class subclaim.'") (quoting Prado-Steiman ex rel. Prado v. Bush, 221 F.3d 1266, 1279-80 (11th Cir. 2000)); Smith v. Pizza Hut, Inc., No. 09-CV-1632-CMA, 2011 WL 2791331, at * 7 (D. Colo. July 14, 2011) (declining to defer standing ruling until after class certification rulings); Thomas v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 540 F. Supp. 2d 1212, 1225 (W.D. Okla. 2008) ("Plaintiffs have not persuaded the court that traditional rules requiring determination of Article III standing issues before class certification issues should not be followed here."); see also In re Refrigerant Compressors Antitrust Litigation, No. 09-md-02042, 2012 WL 2917365, at * 5 (E.D. Mich. July 17, 2012) (explaining that "[t]here is currently a split among federal courts as to the . . . the question of whether standing can be considered prior to class certification in class action lawsuits" but deciding to address standing prior to class certification).

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