Ortiz v. Fibreboard Corp., 527 U.S. 815, 22 (1999)

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836

ORTIZ v. FIBREBOARD CORP.

Opinion of the Court

solute and final." Id., at 980.16 As the Advisory Committee recognized in describing Dickinson, equity required absent parties to be represented, joinder being impractical, where individual claims to be satisfied from the one asset would, as a practical matter, prejudice the rights of absent claimants against a fund inadequate to pay them all.

Equity, of course, recognized the same necessity to bind absent claimants to a limited fund when no formal imposition of a constructive trust was entailed. In Guffanti v. National Surety Co., 196 N. Y. 452, 458, 90 N. E. 174, 176 (1909), for example, the defendant received money to supply steamship tickets and had posted a $15,000 bond as required by state law. He converted to personal use funds collected from more than 150 ticket purchasers, was then adjudged bankrupt, and absconded. One of the defrauded ticket purchasers sued the surety in equity on behalf of himself and all others like him. Over the defendant's objection, the New York Court of Appeals sustained the equitable class suit, citing among other considerations the fact that all recovery had to come from a "limited fund out of which the aggregate recoveries must be sought" that was inadequate to pay all claims, and subject to pro rata distribution. Id., at 458, 90 N. E., at 176. See Hazard, Gedid, & Sowle 1915 ("[Guffanti]

16 As Dickinson demonstrates, the immediate precursor to the type of limited fund class action invoked in this case was a subset of "hybrid" class actions under the 1938 version of Rule 23. Cf. 1 Newberg 1.09, at 1-25. The original Rule 23 categorized class actions by "the character of the right sought to be enforced for or against the class," dividing such actions into "(1) joint, or common, or secondary in the sense that the owner of a primary right refuses to enforce that right and a member of the class thereby becomes entitled to enforce it; (2) several, and the object of the action is the adjudication of claims which do or may affect specific property involved in the action; or (3) several, and there is a common question of law or fact affecting the several rights and a common relief is sought." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 23(a) (1938 ed., Supp. V). See Moore & Friedman 2240; see also Moore & Cohn, Federal Class Actions, 32 Ill. L. Rev. 307, 317-318 (1937); Moore, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Some Problems Raised by the Preliminary Draft, 25 Geo. L. J. 551, 574 (1937).

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