Class Action Case Before U.S. Supreme Court

An important case before the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether state legislatures can limit class actions in federal court. It will also decide whether what started as a $500 claim by an individual litigant will become a $5 million class verdict, according to a report by SCOTUSBLOG. Oral arguments in the case were heard Monday and a decision from the justices is expected in late winter. The case – Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Insurance Co. – stems from an auto accident in which a Maryland woman was hurt. The clinic where she was treated subsequently filed a class action suit in federal court against Allstate, claiming the insurer failed to pay statutory interest penalties on overdue payments of insurance claims owed under no-fault auto insurance policies. Allstate moved to dismiss the case citing a New York law that bars class actions for certain statutory-damages claims. Allstate won in the lower courts where the clinic’s class action suit was dismissed as outside the scope of federal court jurisdiction. The clinic then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court and earlier this year it agreed to hear the case.   An article at Lawyers USA by Kimberly Atkins notes that a decision in this case could have significant impact on mass tort litigation. Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on litigiousness.

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