On September 4, Judge Rogers of the Northern District of California granted defendants’ motion to strike plaintiffs’ second renewed motion for class certification. The motion was filed by indirect purchaser plaintiffs in this lithium ion batteries antitrust litigation. The “second renewed motion,” which was in fact a third motion for class certification, cited Rule 23(c)(1)(C) as authority. Plaintiffs did not seek leave to file this third motion.
In striking the motion, the district court relied heavily upon the importance of adhering to scheduling orders. Although a second motion for class certification was accepted by the district court, the court anticipated that that motion would be the final such certification motion. “While the Court’s scheduling order was silent as to the filing of a third class certification motion, the entire case plan depended upon class certification being settled once the Court issued its decision on the second class certification motion.” “Scheduling orders, and the parties’ adherence to those orders, have special importance in multi-district litigation, as here.”
Rule 23(c)(1)(C) provides that “[a]n order that grants or denies class certification may be altered or amended before final judgment.” But the district court did not allow that rule to sanction complete disregard of scheduling orders: “In the context of multi-district litigation such as this, it would set a dangerous precedent to permit filing of renewed motions for class certification (or decertification) wholly outside the court’s scheduling order and careful management of the actions, and without any request or justification for seeking leave to do so.”