A panel of the Seventh Circuit extended the court’s status as the circuit that puts the most hurdles in the way of class certification under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It held that district courts “must conclusively rule on any challenge to the expert’s qualifications or submissions prior to ruling on a class certification motion. Am. Honda Motor Co., Inc. v. Allen, No. 09-8052, slip op. at 6 (7th Cir. Apr. 6, 2010) (per curiam).
The appeal involved the question of whether an expert for the plaintiffs met the requirements of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), and Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The expert opined that Honda motorcycles wobbled too much. The district court doubted the reliability of the conclusion, but chose not to strike it and instead, granted a motion to certify a class of Honda owners.
The Seventh Circuit ruled that the court couldn’t demur on Honda’s Daubert challenges before granting certification, that Daubert principles required exclusion of the wobbling motorcycle expert’s views, and that the district court erred in overruling Honda’s objections and in certifying a class.