In recent terms, the U.S. Supreme Court has shown some hostility to class action lawsuits.
- In Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the Court concluded that a district court must examine the underlying merits of a claim to determine if class certification is appropriate, and that a class must have some glue binding disparate decisions to justify certifying all of those decisions for consideration in one class.
- In Comcast v. Behrend, the Court expanded upon Dukes by concluding that a class that requires individualized proof to establish damages for each class member cannot survive as a class action.
At the certification stage in a class-action lawsuit, a trial court must undertake a rigorous analysis, which may include probing the underlying merits of the plaintiff’s claim, but only for the purpose of determining whether the plaintiff has satisfied the prerequisites of Civ.R. 23.Implicitly adopting the logic of Comcast, the Court also held:
We now recognize that the need for individualized determinations is dispositive in concluding that the class does not comport with Civ.R. 23.
Unauthorized third-party charges are better resolved on an individual basis with the third party or UTO. UTO’s phone bills identify third-party charges, the entity responsible for the charge, and a toll-free number for billing inquiries. Moreover, UTO claims that it has a policy of removing third-party charges for the purpose of maintaining good will with its clients. Finally, for larger charges or where the charge cannot be resolved over the phone, small-claims court is also an option. Accordingly, because ascertaining whether third-party charges are authorized will require individualized determinations, common issues do not predominate.