Microsoft Corp. v. Baker

A Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from a district court order denying class certification or striking class allegations after the named plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed his individual claims.  After unsuccessfully petitioning for leave to appeal the district court’s order denying class certification, plaintiffs stipulated to a dismissal of the case with prejudice.  The Ninth Circuit held that plaintiffs may still appeal from the judgment of dismissal and thereby challenge the class certification order.  See Baker v. Microsoft Corp. (9th Cir. 2015) 785 F.3d 315.  Not so, holds the Supreme Court.  A Court of Appeals lacks jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from an order denying class certification or striking class allegations after the named plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed his individual claims.  To hold otherwise would upset the careful balance struck in FRCivP 23(f) and permit indiscriminate appeals by plaintiffs only upon their own determination that pursuing their individual claims wasn’t worth the effort, in effect overruling the Supreme Court’s rejection of the death-knell doctrine.

United States Supreme Court (Ginsburg, J.; Roberts, C.J., Thomas & Alito, JJ., concurring); June 12, 2017; 2017 WL 2507341

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