Plaintiff purchasers of traditional blood reagents, products that test the compatibility of donor blood with recipients, brought putative class actions claiming that two defendant companies conspired to fix prices in violation of antitrust law. Numerous lawsuits were consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (and one of the defendants subsequently settled with the plaintiffs).
The district court found that plaintiffs had satisfied the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and granted their motion for class certification. In evaluating predominance under Rule 23(b)(3), the district court assessed plaintiffs’ expert testimony regarding antitrust impact and damages, rejected defendant’s challenges to the reliability of the evidence as irrelevant to certification, and found that the expert’s damages models “could evolve” into admissible evidence.
The remaining defendant appealed the certification decision under Rule 23(f).
On appeal, the Third Circuit vacated class certification and remanded for consideration in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend. The court noted that expert testimony is subject to the rigorous analysis required by Dukes and joined the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits in holding that a plaintiff cannot rely on challenged expert testimony that is necessary to certification unless he can prove that the evidence satisfies the standards set forth in Daubert.
Because a plaintiff must affirmatively demonstrate that the class meets the requirements of Rule 23, expert testimony that falls short of the Daubert standard does not suffice to prove that the prerequisites of certification have been met. Thus, the court remanded for the district court to determine if the defendant’s challenges went to testimony critical to certification and then to conduct a Daubert inquiry before determining if plaintiffs had satisfied Rule 23.