Law and Economics
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“Before deciding whether to allow a case to proceed as a
class action, therefore, a judge should make whatever
factual and legal inquires are necessary under Rule 23…
And if some of the considerations under Rule 23(b)(3),
such as the ‘difficulties likely to be encountered in the
management of a class action,’ overlap the merits… then
the judge must make a preliminary inquiry into the merits.”
Szabo v. Bridgeport Machines, 2001
Historically, economic analysis has seldom been used at the class certification stage, being left instead for the examination of the merits of the case. That pattern has changed, however, as sophisticated economic analyses have become increasingly accepted by the courts for class certification purposes. These analyses have been shown to contribute to the courts’ understanding of the issues and have affected class certification outcomes. Economic analysis of transactions data may reveal whether the proposed classes meet the requirements for being certified. Some of these same economic analyses also can help to educate the court about the issues likely to come before it in the liability phase of the case.
Often, the databases at issue in class certification matters have millions of records covering many parties and spanning multiple time periods. An important element in the successful use of these data at the class certification stage is to frame the economic issues properly. In addition, it is important to have the technical competence and capabilities to handle large, often unwieldy, databases.
Economists Incorporated has both the analytical skills and the computer resources to read, process, and analyze large, complex databases. EI has been involved in economic analysis for class certification in a number of cases, including the following:
The Milk Products Antitrust Litigation (Minnesota)
Butt v. Allegheny Pepsi-Cola Bottling and Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling
MacDunnah’s Inc. d/b/a The Fiddlehead Restaurant and the State of Alaska v. Amerigas Propane, Inc.
Sacramento River Spill, Cases I and II
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