SCOTUS: American Pipe Tolling Doesn’t Apply to Successive Class Actions

June 14, 2018

On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a nearly unanimous opinion in China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, determining whether the tolling rule established by the Court’s American Pipe decision—which allows putative class members to file new individual lawsuits if class certification is denied and the statute of limitations has run—permits a person to file a new, otherwise untimely class claim.

Resolving a circuit split, the Court said no: the follow-on class action would be untimely and cannot be maintained.

The Court’s decision is a victory for class action defendants, as it reduces the likelihood that, once they have successfully defeated a class action, they will have to face another (and another). It remains to be seen, however, whether defendants (and the courts) will have to deal with a surge of protective class-action filings and novel techniques to re-litigate class certification issues.