Class Actions—Appellate Jurisdiction to Review Denial of Class Certification After Stipulated Dismissal

Microsoft Corp. v. Baker, No. 15-457

The Supreme Court has granted review in this case to decide whether the named plaintiffs’ stipulated dismissal of their individual claims with prejudice after the denial of class certification creates appellate jurisdiction to review the class certification question. Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Microsoft claiming defects in the Xbox 360 gaming console. After the district court granted Microsoft’s motion to strike the class allegations, the plaintiffs petitioned for an interlocutory appeal, which was denied. The parties subsequently stipulated to dismiss the case with prejudice, and plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Microsoft contended that the appeal should be dismissed because the voluntary dismissal with prejudice did not create appellate jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, holding that a stipulated dismissal without a settlement “retains sufficient adversity to sustain an appeal.” The Second Circuit has adopted the same view, but five other circuits have held that an appellate court lacks jurisdiction to review a denial of class certification where the plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice. The Supreme Court will now resolve this disagreement.