Making Rule 23 Ideal: Using a Multifactor Test to Evaluate the Admissibility of Evidence at Class Certification
Cianan M. Lesley*
Circuit courts are split on whether and to what extent the Daubert standard should apply at class certification. Potential plaintiffs believe that application of Daubert would make it nearly impossible to obtain class certification. For potential defendants, the application of the standard is an important way to ensure that the certification process is fair. This Note examines the incentives underlying the push to apply the Daubert standard at class certification and the benefits and drawbacks associated with that proposal. It proposes a solution that balances the concerns of both plaintiffs and defendants by focusing on three factors: the obstacles to admissibility, the centrality of the evidence to certification, and the likelihood that evidence could evolve to an admissible state after full discovery. This standard could also be applied when admissibility concerns grounded in other provisions of the Federal Rules of Evidence are raised.
*J.D. Candidate, May 2020, University of Michigan Law School. I am grateful to Professor Maureen Carroll, Sarah Mezera, and the Volume 117 Notes Office for their thoughtful feedback and guidance. I would also like to thank my family for their unwavering patience and support.