Class Actions, Adequacy of Representative: Baldwin Mut. Ins. Co. V. McCain

Baldwin Mut. Ins. Co. v. McCain, [Ms. 1160093, Mar. 23, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2018). The Supreme Court (Stuart, C.J., and Mendheim, Main, and Bryan, JJ., concur) reverse an order of the Montgomery Circuit Court pursuant to Rule 23, Ala. R. Civ. P., a class action arising from payments under Baldwin Mutual homeowner's insurance policies upon finding that the putative class representative could not fairly and adequately represent the interests of the class as required by Rule 23(a)(4) when her personal breach of contract claims were subject to a unique res judicata defense. Citing Hannon v. Dataproducts Corp., 976 F.2d 497, 508 (9th Cir. 1992), and other reported federal opinions, the Court holds that class certification is inappropriate where a putative class representative is subject to unique defenses which threaten to become the focus of the litigation. Ms. *26-27.

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