Class actions often are lengthy and costly undertakings for defendants, and the discovery process can demand the most significant amount of resources. When discovery on class certification issues is then followed by merits discovery, it can seem as if the process never ends. There are, however, alternative strategies to get to the ultimate goal of a successful resolution. In cases where threshold factual or legal issues on the merits of the underlying claims may determine the viability of a class claim, a defendant should consider reversing the usual order of class action discovery and seek an initial discovery period on the merits issues. Doing so could quickly end a case before class certification issues are even considered. As discussed below, defendants have used this strategy in a number of class action cases, thus allowing the defendant to end the case prior to the burden and cost of full-blown class discovery.
To view the full e-alert, click here