Jenkins v. Raymark Industries, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
782 F.2d 468 (1986)
About 5,000 asbestos-related cases were pending in the Fifth Circuit, and district-court dockets were backlogged. Wanda Jenkins and nine others (collectively, Jenkins) (plaintiffs) with asbestos-related lawsuits pending against Raymark Industries, Inc., and others (collectively, Raymark) (defendants) moved to certify a class of all plaintiffs with asbestos-related personal-injury claims pending in the Eastern District of Texas on a certain date. The court certified the class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) as to the state-of-the-art defense, other defense-related questions, and punitive damages, and ruled that the class jury would resolve all individual issues in suits brought by class representatives (CRs), mini-trials would determine the individual issues of unnamed class members (UCMs), the class jury would evaluate Raymark’s culpability for a possible punitive-damage award, and punitive damages would be awarded after individual cases were resolved. Rule 23(b)(3) permitted class certification if Rule 23(a)’s requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy were satisfied; common legal or factual questions predominated; and a class action was superior to other adjudication methods. Raymark filed an interlocutory appeal, arguing that the class failed to meet Rule 23’s requirements and that Texas law and the United States Constitution prohibited the bifurcated determination of punitive and actual damages. Raymark did not show that the Wellington Facility, reverse bifurcation, or another procedural mechanism was superior.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Reavley, J.)
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