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Class Certification in Common Defect Cases: Proving or Attacking Commonality After In re Ford Motor Company

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will review pursuing or challenging class certification in cases alleging common defects and the commonality requirement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 in light of the Sixth Circuit's decision in In re: Ford Motor Co., Case No. 22-0109, 2023 WL 7877971 (6th Cir. Nov. 16, 2023). The panel will discuss lessons from Ford and the ongoing judicial conversation regarding what qualifies as rigorous analysis of the Rule 23 elements. The program will offer strategies about how to demonstrate that allegedly "common" defect issues can or cannot be resolved in the proverbial “one stroke”.


According to the 6th Circuit, a question is "common" within Rule 23(a)(2)'s meaning if knowing the answer would resolve a central issue "in one stroke." But demonstrating commonality even in purported common defects cases is not automatic, and opposing such a showing may call for innovative defense strategies, including interlocutory appeal.

In Ford, the Sixth Circuit vacated an issue class certification order because it did not contain "rigorous analysis" with respect to commonality. The decision offers food for thought for both plaintiff and defendants on this important issue, highlighting what does and does not qualify as rigorous analysis of Rule 23.

The decision also sheds light on balancing the limited discovery favored at the certification stage with the more robust discovery needed to resolve the merits. Finally, the Ford opinion suggests rethinking which issues that may be appropriate for certification.

Listen as our preeminent panel reviews emerging issues related to commonality in a common defects case and offers strategies for challenging or establishing commonality based on lessons from Ford.



  1. Overview of commonality under Rule 23
  2. Lessons from In re: Ford Motor Co.


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • What is the standard for determining if a court's Rule 23 analysis is sufficiently rigorous?
  • How will Ford affect parties seeking to establish or challenge commonality?
  • What are best practices for defense counsel to employ to defeat class certification?


Congrove, Timothy
Timothy E. Congrove

Shook, Hardy & Bacon

Mr. Congrove defends businesses in multidistrict litigation, class actions and other complex cases. He has successfully...  |  Read More

Tangren, John
John E. Tangren

DiCello Levitt

Mr. Tangren maintains a national practice in consumer class action litigation, with vast experience in the field of...  |  Read More

Wu, Ryan
Ryan Wu

Capstone Law

Mr. Wu is primarily responsible for complex motion work and supervising court approval of class action settlements. He...  |  Read More

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