Tuesday, March 1, 2011

California Supreme Court Concludes Death Knell Doctrine Limited to Orders Terminating Class’ Claims Where Individual Claims Persist: In re Baycol Cases I and II

On February 28, 2011, the California Supreme Court concluded that a court of appeal erred by applying the “death knell doctrine” to dismiss the class component of an appeal that was taken subsequent to judgment, rather than the order sustaining a demurrer, when the demurrer simultaneously sustained both the class’ and the named plaintiff’s claims in their entirety. See In re Baycol Cases I and II, __ Cal.4th __ (2011). As held by the Court, “where an order sustains a demurrer as to both class and individual claims, appeal lies from the subsequent entry of final judgment, not the order.” Slip Opinion, at 10. “[T]he [death knell] doctrine comes into play for class claims only when an order ‘is tantamount to a dismissal of the action as to all members of the class other than plaintiff.’” Slip Opinion, at 11.

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