April 06, 2017
On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker. Plaintiffs brought a class action lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) alleging that, during gameplay on the Xbox 360 video game console, discs would come loose and get scratched by the internal components of the console, sustaining damage that then rendered them unplayable. The district court, deferring to an earlier denial of class certification entered by another district court dealing with a similar putative class, entered a stipulated dismissal and order striking class allegations. Despite the dismissal being the product of a stipulation--that is, an agreement by the parties--the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that the parties remained sufficiently adverse for the dismissal to constitute a final appealable order. The Ninth Circuit, therefore, concluded it had appellate jurisdiction over the case. Reaching the merits, that Court held that the district court had abused its discretion, and therefore reversed the stipulated dismissal and order striking class allegations, and remanded the case.
The question now before the Supreme Court is whether a federal court of appeals has jurisdiction to review an order denying class certification after the named plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.
To discuss the case, we have Cory L. Andrews, who is Senior Litigation Counsel for Washington Legal Foundation.