Legal Memorandum: Predominance and a Class Action in MN

Issue: Under Minnesota law, what factors does a court consider when analyzing the existence of predominance for purposes of a class action?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Predominance; Class actions
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 822 F. Supp. 1389; 650 N.W.2d 445
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 06/01/2014

A class action is appropriate when common questions representing the significant aspect of a case can be resolved in a single action.  In re Workers’ Comp. 130 F.R.D. 99, 108-109 (D. Minn. 1990).  In determining predominance, “the fundamental question” is “whether the group aspiring to class status is seeking to remedy a common legal grievance.”  Lockwood Motors, 162 F.R.D. at 580; Buchholtz v. Swift and Co., 62 F.R.D. 581, 598 (D. Minn. 1973).  To make the determination, the court’s inquiry should be directed primarily toward the issue of liability.  See, e.g., Kennedy v. Talant, 710 F.2d 711, 717 (11th Cir. 1983); Dura-Bilt Corp. v. Chase Manhattan Corp., 89 F.R.D. 87, 93 (S.D.N.Y. 1981). 

The common question need not be dispositive of the entire action because “predominance” as used in the rule is not automatically equated with “determinative.”  Id; see also Lockwood Motors, 162 F.R.D. at 580 (“[c]ommon questions need only predominate; they need not be dispositive of the litigation”).  The mere fact that there are certain issues that may need to be determined on an individual basis does not necessarily preclude the satisfaction of the predominance requirement.  Lewy 1990 Trust v. Inv. Advisors, Inc., 650 N.W.2d 445, 456 (Minn. App. 2002), review denied (Minn. Nov. 19, 2002). 

Indeed, courts frequently grant class certification despite individual differences, especially with respect to class members’ damages.  See White v. NFL, 822 F. Supp. 1389, 1403-04 (D. Minn. 1993); Minnesota v. U.S. Steel Corp., 44 […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)