Court Limits Tolling Of Statute Of Limitations In Class Actions To Future Filers

Under prior Court precedent, when a class action is filed but then fails to gain certification, the statute of limitations is tolled for those within the putative class, allowing them to intervene as individual plaintiffs in that action, or bring an individual suit. In China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, instead of bringing a separate individual suit or intervening, the new plaintiff sought to bring another class action after the statute of limitations period had expired, arguing that tolling was appropriate for the new class action under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The district court dismissed the new class action as untimely, and the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that prior precedent permitted the tolling. The Court, in a unanimous decision by Justice Ginsburg, reversed, holding that the denial of class certification did not toll the statute of limitations as to a future class action, as efficiency in class claims favors early assertion and resolution of such claims, and does not favor those who are late in filing. Justice Sotomayor filed a concurrence agreeing with the result only as to the Act in question, but leaving open whether class actions in other circumstances might allow tolling.