Gulf Oil Co. v. Bernard

452 U.S. 89 (1981)

From our private database of 46,100+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Gulf Oil Co. v. Bernard

United States Supreme Court
452 U.S. 89 (1981)

Facts

A class action was filed on behalf of employees (plaintiffs) against Gulf Oil Company (Gulf) (defendant) for employment discrimination. Before the action was filed, Gulf entered a consent decree with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to offer backpay to impacted employees to settle their discrimination claims. After the class action was filed and before class certification, Gulf ceased sending settlement offers to putative class members, but the employees’ counsel met with absent potential class members and recommended they not settle with Gulf. Gulf petitioned the court for an order to limit the employees’ counsel from communicating with potential class members. Citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(d), the district court granted the motion and issued an order that generally limited contact between the employees’ counsel and potential class members. The district court did not explain its decision. The employees appealed and argued that they needed class counsel to communicate with the potential class members to get important information about the case and to inform class members about their rights, and that the order violated their First Amendment rights. A divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order, but the full court, sitting en banc, reversed. The employees filed and were granted a writ of certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 745,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 745,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 46,100 briefs, keyed to 987 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 745,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 46,100 briefs - keyed to 987 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership