Rule 68 Offers of Judgment in Putative Class Actions: Litigation Strategies After Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez

Evaluating Choice of Jurisdiction, Use of Placeholder Class Certification Motions, and Impact of Pick-Off Strategy

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will examine the strategic use of Rule 68 offers of judgment in class actions in the aftermath of the 2016 Supreme Court decision Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, holding that an unaccepted offer of judgment generally does not moot a plaintiff's case. The panel will also address leveraging Rule 68 as an early case defense strategy; and considerations regarding choice of jurisdiction and the use of placeholder certification motions to proactively avoid an offer of judgment.

Description

Defendants have used offers of judgment as part of a strategy to put settlement pressure on plaintiffs and potentially moot class actions. In 2016, SCOTUS decided Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, resolving a significant circuit split and holding that an unaccepted offer of judgment does result in mootness of the named plaintiff’s claims. But Campbell-Ewald only dealt with the discrete question of whether the named plaintiff's case was mooted. Class claims were not addressed, nor were accepted offers of judgment. The Court specifically left open the possibility of mootness if a defendant tenders the full amount of the plaintiff's individual claim, and the court then enters judgment for the plaintiff.

Courts have since taken divergent approaches to address these questions. Courts finding that full tender moots a named plaintiff’s claim have used different approaches depending on the payment method. Even when a full and tendered offer of judgment has mooted a named plaintiff’s claims, courts have split on the legal implications for the overall class.

Counsel for both sides must formulate strategies regarding the best jurisdiction for litigating their case. Plaintiff's counsel should weigh whether to use placeholder certification motions to proactively managing Rule 68 offers of judgment. Defense counsel must also evaluate the long-term impact of using Rule 68 offers of judgment to dispose of named plaintiffs' claims and future class litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of class litigators discusses how Rule 68 offers of judgment are being strategically used by defense counsel to attempt to dispose of putative class actions. The panel will review the latest case law addressing the issue and best practices for the plaintiff and defense counsel in light of the growing circuit court split.

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Outline

  1. Rule 68 offers of judgment--overview; impact of Campbell-Ewald and subsequent cases
  2. Strategic considerations for Rule 68 offers of judgment
    1. For defendants
    2. For plaintiffs

Benefits

The panel will review these and other vital questions:

  • What is the impact of the Supreme Court's Campbell-Ewald ruling and its progeny for defense counsel seeking to use Rule 68 offers of judgment to moot putative class actions?
  • What are the strategic advantages of a Rule 68 offer of judgment for defendants in class litigation?
  • What are some considerations for defense counsel evaluating whether to make a Rule 68 offer of judgment in putative class actions?
  • What are some strategic considerations for the plaintiff's counsel for anticipating and proactively dealing with Rule 68 offers of judgment?

Faculty

Schwartz, Jordan
Jordan M. Schwartz

Counsel
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Mr. Schwartz represents clients in purported class actions, multidistrict litigation and mass tort proceedings in...  |  Read More

Wyatt, Geoffrey
Geoffrey M. Wyatt

Partner
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Mr. Wyatt represents clients in mass tort and other aggregate litigation. He defends companies as part of a team that...  |  Read More

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