MUNIQUE WILLIAMS, individually, and as Class Representative, MICHAEL E. WHITE; APRIL MARIE COURIE; JOHNNY RAY TOLBERT; KEVIN BAXTER, individually and as class representatives and in their capacities as taxpayers; ERIC MITCHELL, DIANE RAMIRES, HEATHER YOUSIF, MARGO V. BORRUP, RONALD J. BORRUP, individually and as class representatives; QUINTON COOPER; RUBY SELLARS; ROY LEE WIMBERLY, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. SHERMAN NMI BLOCK, Sheriff, individually and in his official capacity; LOS ANGELES COUNTY, a governmental entity; JERRY HARPER, Undersheriff; MICHAEL GRAHAM, Assistant Sheriff; BERRY KING, Chief; DOES 1 THROUGH 100, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants-Appellees.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 8979
February 10, 2000, Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California
May 3, 2000, Filed
NOTICE: [*1] RULES OF THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS MAY LIMIT CITATION TO UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS. PLEASE REFER TO THE RULES OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THIS CIRCUIT.
PRIOR HISTORY: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. CV-97-03826-WJR. William J. Rea, District Judge, Presiding.
DISPOSITION: REVERSED and REMANDED.
Plaintiff class representatives appealed the judgment of the United States
District Court for the Central District of California denying their motion for
class certification pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.
OVERVIEW: Plaintiff class representatives filed a class action against defendant governmental entity and officials but the trial court denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. The trial court determined that the named plaintiffs' claims were not typical of the proposed class. Defendants argued in the alternative that the record supported the trial court's order on the grounds that plaintiffs' proposed class action satisfied neither the predominance nor superiority requirements under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3). The court held that the trial court abused its discretion by denying plaintiffs' motion because, under the permissive standards of Fed R. Civ. P. 23(a)(3), representative claims were typical if they were reasonably co-extensive with those of absent class members. The court refused to determine whether plaintiffs' proposed class action satisfied the predominance and superiority requirements for class certification because such factual determinations were not part of the appellate function.
OUTCOME: Judgment reversed and remanded; denial of plaintiffs' motion for class certification based on lack of typicality was an abuse of discretion because, under the federal rules, representative claims were typical if they were reasonably co-extensive with those of absent class members.
CORE TERMS: class certification, class member, class action, proposed class, causes of action, statutory provisions, typicality
COUNSEL: For MUNIQUE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff - Appellant: Timothy J. Midgley, Esq., MANES & WATSON, Barret S. Litt, LITT & ASSOCIATES, Donald W. Cook, Esq., Los Angeles, CA.
For MUNIQUE WILLIAMS, Plaintiff - Appellant: John C. Burton, Esq., BURTON & NORRIS, Pasadena, CA.
For MICHAEL E. WHITE, APRIL MARIE COURIE, Plaintiffs: Timothy J. Midgley, Esq., MANES & WATSON, Donald W. Cook, Esq., Los Angeles, CA.
For MICHAEL E. WHITE, APRIL MARIE COURIE, Plaintiffs: John C. Burton, Esq., BURTON & NORRIS, Pasadena, CA.
JUDGES: Before: PREGERSON, FERGUSON, and WARDLAW, Circuit Judges.
* This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3.
[*2] Munique Williams, Michael White, April Marie Courie, Eric Mitchell, Diane Ramirez, Heather Yousif, Margo V. Borrup, Quinton Cooper, and Ruby Sellars appeal the district court's denial of their motion for class certification, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), and we reverse and remand for further proceedings.
The district court denied class certification because it determined that the named plaintiffs' claims were not typical of the proposed class. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(3). In particular, the district court found that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate typicality because each class representative could not allege each of the plaintiffs' six causes of action. This was a mistake of law. See Bazemore v. Friday, 478 U.S. 385, 387, 405-06, 92 L. Ed. 2d 315, 106 S. Ct. 3000 (1986) (class met the typicality requirement because each named plaintiff and each proposed class member had a claim against the defendant state agency, even though some proposed class plaintiffs also asserted claims against the different counties in which they resided); Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U.S. 682, 701, 703 n.15, 61 L. Ed. 2d 176, 99 S. Ct. 2545 (1979) [*3] (describing class relief as "peculiarly appropriate" when plaintiffs filed claims under two statutory provisions and some named plaintiffs had a cause of action under one of the statutory provisions but not the other); Hanlon v. Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1020 (9th Cir. 1998) ("Under [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(3)]'s permissive standards, representative claims are 'typical' if they are reasonably co-extensive with those of absent class members; they need not be identical."). Therefore, the district court abused its discretion by failing to certify the class on this ground. See Koon v. United States, 518 U.S. 81, 100, 135 L. Ed. 2d 392, 116 S. Ct. 2035 (1996) ("A district court by definition abuses its discretion when it makes an error of law.").
The appellees argue in the alternative that we "should affirm the district court's order denying class certification" because "the record amply supports the district court's order [on the grounds that] plaintiffs' proposed class action satisfies neither the predominance nor superiority requirements under Rule 23(b)(3)." We have held, however, that "to determine in the first instance whether [*4] or not existence of a ground [for denial of class action status] is to be found in the record" would involve this court "with subsidiary questions requiring resolution of factual disputes or exercise of discretion, judicial actions which are not appropriately a part of the appellate function." Inda v. United Air Lines, Inc., 565 F.2d 554, 563 (9th Cir. 1977). Therefore, we remand to the district court so that it may consider the requirements for class certification that it did not address in the first instance.
Accordingly, we reverse the district court's judgment and remand for further proceedings.
REVERSED and REMANDED.