States Can't Bar Federal Class Actions: High Court

By Elaine Meyer (March 31, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday held that state laws barring class actions cannot be used to throw class actions out of federal court, reversing a lower court's opinion that restricted a Maryland orthopedic group from pursuing such an action against Allstate Insurance Co.

In a majority opinion joined by four other justices, Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 — not a state law — is the authority on whether a class action can be filed in federal court.

The case provoked an atypical alliance of the judges, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filing a...

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