Supreme Court rules on deadline for opting out of class actions

Supreme Court rules on deadline for opting out of class actions

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. Anz Securities, Inc., et al. [SCOTUSblog materials] that a member of a class action suit cannot file a new suit separately past the statute of repose [LII backgrounder]. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court in the 5-4 decision. Kennedy did not buy petitioner’s argument that the court’s decision in American Pipe and Construction Co. et al. v. State of Utah et al. [LII backgrounder] stating that American Pipe was not a case that revolved around a “legislative enactment” instead of the “tradition equitable powers of the judiciary.” In this case, Section 13 of the Securities Act of 1933 [text, PDF] sets the three-year bar that controls Section 11. “The statute displaces the traditional power of courts to modify statutory time limits in the name of equity. Because the American Pipe tolling rule is rooted in those equitable powers, it cannot extend the 3-year period. Petitioner’s untimely filing of its individual action is ground for dismissal.”

The court heard arguments for this case in April after granting certiorari [JURIST reports] in January.