Supreme Court Strictly Limits Appeal of Rule 23 Class Certification Orders


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to seek permission to appeal an order certifying or decertifying a class under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is subject to a mandatory 14 day limitations period following the court’s order.

Rule 23 governs class actions, and provides that a request for permission to appeal a class certification or decertification order must be filed within 14 days. In Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, the plaintiff first asked the federal district court to reconsider its decertification order, and then sought permission to appeal 14 days after reconsideration was denied. The Supreme Court held that the request for reconsideration did not equitably toll the 14-day period for requesting permission to appeal the order. Thus, the plaintiff should have requested permission within 14 days of the original order, not the denial of reconsideration. Although the ruling was issued in a consumer class action, it has general applicability to all Rule 23 class actions, including those involving employment claims.