In the latest installment of a long running saga involving the stainless steel drums in Sears Kenmore clothes dryers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit utilized the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651(a) (link) to halt class action litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the North District of California, as well as future class actions involving the same parties, attorneys, and subject matter. The lucid 29-page opinion by Judge Posner – in Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., Case No. 10-2407, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 22807, __ F.3d__(7th Cir. Nov. 2, 2010). “Thorogood III” – highlights how class counsel’s use of far-reaching, burdensome discovery for settlement leverage justifies enjoining a second attempted class action.
The latest decision was the third appeal to the Seventh Circuit. It contains important lessons for employment class actions, especially in the wage & hour context where plaintiffs’ counsel often file multiple class actions in different venues.