2011 Annual Survey of Texas Class Action Cases

Texas Business Litigation Journal

I.  Introduction
The number of class certification opinions in Texas appellate courts slowed to a trickle in 2011. It appears that trial courts around the state have now adapted to the strict class certification standards announced by the Texas Supreme Court more than a decade ago in Southwestern Refining Co., Inc. v. Bernal.2 As a result, for the first time in recent memory, the Texas Supreme Court did not issue a single opinion addressing class certification standards. Furthermore, only two lower appellate court cases addressed class certification. Class action jurisprudence has matured in Texas and as a result, the long predicted demise of Texas class actions may have become a reality.3

II. Overview of 2011 Case Law

A. Class Certification Standards

Only one court of appeals addressed class certification standards in 2011. In Riemer v. The State of Texas,4 the Amarillo Court of Appeals addressed potential conflicts in a proposed class before affirming the trial court’s denial of a motion for class certification. The appeal concerned an interlocutory order denying class certification in a dispute between landowners and the State of Texas over the boundaries of the Canadian River.5 The plaintiffs alleged an unconstitutional taking of their property by the State when it redefined the centerline and banks of the river.6

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