Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 14 (1999)

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Opinion of the Court

23(a) were met, id., at 523-526,6 the District Court certified the class under Rule 23(b)(1)(B),7 citing the risk that Fibre-board might lose or fare poorly on appeal of the coverage case or lose the assignment-settlement dispute, leaving it without funds to pay all claims. Id., at 526. The "allowance of individual adjudications by class members," the District Court concluded, "would have destroyed the opportunity to compromise the insurance coverage dispute by creating the settlement fund, and would have exposed the class members to the very risks that the settlement addresses." Id., at 527. In response to intervenors' objections that the absence of a "limited fund" precluded certification under Rule 23(b)(1)(B), the District Court ruled that although the subdivision is not so restricted, if it were, this case would qualify. It found both the "disputed insurance asset liquidated by the $1.535 billion Global Settlement," and, alternatively, "the sum of the value of Fibreboard plus the value of its insurance coverage," as measured by the insurance funds' settlement value, to be relevant "limited funds." App. to Pet. for Cert. 491a-492a.

On appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed both as to class certification and adequacy of settlement. In re Asbestos Litiga-6 "Rule 23(a) states four threshold requirements applicable to all class actions: (1) numerosity (a 'class [so large] that joinder of all members is impracticable'); (2) commonality ('questions of law or fact common to the class'); (3) typicality (named parties' claims or defenses 'are typical . . . of the class'); and (4) adequacy of representation (representatives 'will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class')." Amchem Products, Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U. S. 591, 613 (1997).

7 Rule 23(b)(1)(B) provides that "[a]n action may be maintained as a class action if the prerequisites of subdivision (a) are satisfied, and in addition: (1) the prosecution of separate actions by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of . . . (B) adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interests."

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