On November 13, 2012, the Seventh Circuit (Judge Posner) handed down a new class certification opinion, Butler v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., ___ F.3d ___ (7th Cir. Nov. 13, 2012). The 8-page opinion may set a new record for succinctness. An excerpt:
Predominance is a question of efficiency. See Amchem Products, Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 615-16 (1997); Committee Notes to 1966 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23; Jackson v. Motel 6 Multipurpose, Inc., 130 F.3d 999, 1005 n. 12 (11th Cir. 1997); William B. Rubenstein, 2 Newberg on Class Actions § 4:49 (5th ed. 2012). Is it more efficient, in terms both of economy of judicial resources and of the expense of litigation to the parties, to decide some issues on a class basis or all issues in separate trials? A class action is the more efficient procedure for determining liability and damages in a case such as this involving a defect that may have imposed costs on tens of thousands of consumers, yet not a cost to any one of them large enough to justify the expense of an individual suit. ....
Sears argues that most members of the plaintiff class did not experience a mold problem [with their washing machines]. But if so that is an argument not for refusing to certify the class but for certifying it and then entering a judgment that will largely exonerate Sears—a course it should welcome, as all class members who did not opt out of the class action would be bound by the judgment.
Slip op. at 4-5. The opinion reversed the order denying class certification of the breach of warranty claims, and affirmed a separate order granting certification of claims alleging defective control units in the machines. Id. at 8.