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Split Over Impact of Bristol-Myers Squibb on Class Actions Deepens

Bakov v. Consolidated World Travel, Inc. is the latest salvo in the conflict over whether the Supreme Court’s personal jurisdiction decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb applies in the class action context. As we have blogged in the past, Bristol-Myers concerned claims in California state court made by non-California residents, claims that were not sufficiently connected to California to qualify for specific personal jurisdiction on their own. The Court held that California state courts could not exercise specific jurisdiction over those claims even if they were packaged with claims by California residents in a mass tort action.

Bristol-Myers left two significant questions undecided: (1) whether the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause imposes the same jurisdictional limits on federal courts that the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause imposes on state courts; and (2) whether Bristol-Myers’ jurisdictional limit jurisdictional limit on state court mass actions also applies to federal court class actions.

Bakov is a Northern District of Illinois decision that answers yes to both of those questions. The plaintiffs in Bakovalleged that the defendant cruise line directed another company to place calls to the plaintiffs without their consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. They sought certification of a nationwide class action. The court certified a class of Illinois residents but refused to certify a nationwide class, holding that under Bristol-Myersthe court did not have specific jurisdiction over the claims of non-Illinois residents. Courts have reached sharply different conclusions as to whether the jurisdictional limit set forth in Bristol-Myers applies to class actions. Bakovjoins the minority in concluding it does.

Bakov v. Consolidated World Travel, Inc., No. 15 C 2980, 2019 WL 1294659 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 21, 2019).

©2011-2023 Carlton Fields, P.A. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 92

About this Author

Nathaniel G. Foell litigation lawyer Carlton Fields

Nathaniel Foell practices complex civil litigation, crafting arguments and finding solutions for challenging issues. He represents a diverse range of clients at both the trial and appellate levels. Nathaniel has particular experience defending class actions, both in the multidistrict litigation context and more generally. He has also briefed cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals.

Nathaniel maintains a robust pro bono practice as well, focusing on criminal justice matters. He has provided legal services in capital punishment cases, in three strikes cases,...

Matthew Allen Class Action Antitrust Litigator

Matt Allen has particular emphasis in class action and antitrust litigation, having litigated dozens of class actions last year alone. More broadly, his area of practice is complex litigation, including antitrust law, deceptive trade practice law, insurance litigation, appellate law, and general business disputes.

Matt is board certified by The Florida Bar in Antitrust and Trade Regulation Law.