Illinois Supreme Court Identifies Standard Of Review For Class Certification Dispute

Plaintiff sought class certification for persons who were exposed to toxic chemicals when a train derailed. The trial court certified the class, and was affirmed by the appellate court. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed on the basis that common issues of proximate cause and damages did not predominate. The supreme court’s opinion states the standard of review for decisions concerning class certification. “Decisions regarding class certification are within the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed on appeal unless the trial court abused its discretion or applied impermissible legal criteria . . . However, ” ‘[a] trial court’s discretion in deciding whether to certify a class action is not unlimited and is bounded by and must be exercised within the framework of the civil procedure rule governing class actions.’ ”

The entire case, Smith v. Illinois Central R.R., No. 102060 (11/30/06), is available by clicking here.