Gelboim v. Bank of America

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: January 21, 2015
  • Case #: 13-1174
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ginsburg, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

When a case that is part of a consolidated proceedings in multidistrict litigation is dismissed on the merits, the district court has made a final decision that to remove the case from the consolidated proceedings and the case may be appealed under § 1291.

Petitioner brought a single-claim antitrust suit against Respondent. The case was part of dozens of related cases transferred to consolidated pretrial proceedings in multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) under § 1407. Respondent sought the dismissal of Petitioner’s claim for failure to prove antitrust injury to Petitioner, and the district court granted summary judgment for Respondent. Accordingly, Petitioner was removed from the § 1407 proceedings. Petitioner appealed, but that appeal was declined for lack of appellate jurisdiction. The Second Circuit held that the dismissal was not a final decision under § 1291 because there was no final decision as to all actions consolidated under § 1407. Petitioner appealed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

The Supreme Court reverses and finds that the dismissal of Petitioner’s single-claim case is a final decision, triggering Petitioner’s right to appeal under § 1291. A district court’s dismissal of a discrete claim within §1407 consolidated proceedings is adjudication on the merits, which triggers the right to appeal under § 1291 because it disposes of Petitioner’s action and their involvement in the § 1407 proceedings. The Court also holds that other § 1407 parties sharing Petitioner’s claim remain protected even if they have multiple outstanding claims because Rule 54(b) permits the district court to certify single claims for immediate appeal while the remaining proceed, and those parties may join Petitioner in the immediate appeal.

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