Supreme Court Forecloses Equitable Tolling of Rule 23(f)’s 14-Day Time Bar for Petitioning for Permission to Appeal an Order Granting or Denying Class-Action Certification

  • United States
  • 03/06/2019
  • Duane Morris

The Supreme Court of the United States takes time limits to appeal seriously, and its February 26, 2019, decision in Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert proves that class actions are no exception.[1] Rule 23(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides “14 days after [an] order is entered” granting or denying class-action certification to petition for permission to appeal.[2] The Supreme Court held that Rule 23(f)’s “nonjurisdictional claim-processing rule” is not subject to equitable tolling.[3]

Lambert sued in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleging violations of California consumer-protection law and seeking class certification. The District Court initially permitted the plaintiffs to proceed as a class, but later issued an order decertifying the class. Lambert had 14 days to petition for permission to appeal. Instead, at a status conference 10 days after the decertification order, Lambert informed the District Court that he would seek reconsideration. The District Court told him to file the motion within 10 days. Lambert complied, and so he filed his motion for reconsideration 20 days after the decertification order. The District Court denied the motion (continue)

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