Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Georgine v. Amchem Prods., Inc.

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 21138
Nos. 94-1925 et al., 83 F.3d 610/(3d Cir., 05/10/1996)

The court holds that a plaintiff class, created for the purpose of settling an asbestos litigation, that consists of both persons who alleged physical injuries from asbestos-containing products, and persons who only alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products, meets neither the certification requirements of typicality and adequacy of representation under Fed R. Civ. P. 23(a), nor those of predominance and superiority under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). The court first holds that the Rule 23(a) requirements of commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation, and the Rule 23(b)(3) requirement of predominance and superiority must be satisfied as if the action were going to be litigated. The court next notes that the Rule 23(a) commonality requirement is subsumed by the Rule 23(b)(3) predominance requirement. The court holds that the limited common issues identified, primarily the single question of the harmfulness of asbestos, cannot satisfy the predominance requirement. The class-member claims vary so widely in character that the factual differences translate into significant legal differences. The court next holds that serious intra-class conflicts preclude the class from meeting the adequacy of representation requirement. The settlement makes important judgments on how recovery is to be allocated among different kinds of plaintiffs, necessarily favoring some class members over others. The court then holds that the underlying lack of commonality and attendant conflicts necessarily destroy the possibility of typicality. Finally, the court holds that the class also fails Rule 23(b)'s superiority requirement. The proposed class action suffers from serious problems in both efficiency and fairness.

Counsel for Appellees
Brian L. Wolfman
Public Citizen Litigation Group
2000 P St. NW, Ste. 700, Washington DC 20036
(202) 833-3000

Counsel for Appellants
Brent M. Rosenthall
Baron & Budd
3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 1100, Dallas TX 75219
(214) 521-3605

Before Becker, Greenberg, and Wellford,* JJ.