Failure to Evaluate Admissibility of Expert Testimony Dooms iPhone Class Certification

Failure to Evaluate Admissibility of Expert Testimony Dooms iPhone Class Certification

The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District vacated a class certification order in a case alleging damage from a defective power button on Apple Inc.'s iPhone 4, 4S and 5 smartphones.  The appellate court held that the trial court erred in failing to determine the admissibility of expert opinions proffered by the plaintiffs in seeking class certification, explaining that the standard for admissibility of expert testimony set forth in Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. Univ. of Southern California applied at the class certification stage as well as at trial.  Had the lower court exercised its gatekeeper responsibilities, the appellate court concluded, "there is a reasonable chance the court would have denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification," because the expert testimony in support of a class-wide damages model, as well as the expert opinions used t determine the size of the proposed class, were suspect.  [2/3/18]

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