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Class Action Suit Against DeBeers Corp., Plus Bankruptcy and Education Law Matters

By FindLaw Staff on July 14, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Sullivan v. DB Inv. Inc., 08-2784, concerned a challenge to the district court's certification of two putative classes and an order overruling objections to the settlement fund of $295 million in plaintiffs' suit under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, and under the antitrust, consumer protection and unjust enrichment laws of all fifty states, against the De Beers corporation for fixing prices in the wholesale market for gem-quality diamonds.  In vacating the decision and remanding the matter, the court held that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the settlement classes under Rule  23(b)(3) both because the indirect purchaser class as currently defined is overbroad and because the district court's certification order did not sufficiently identify those claims and issues subject to the class treatment.  The court also held that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the settlement class under Rule 23(b)(2).

In re Visteon Corp., 10-1944, concerned a union's challenge to the district court's order affirming a bankruptcy court's order permitting defendant-employer to terminate provision of retiree health and life insurance benefits without complying with 11 U.S.C. section 1114.  In reversing the judgment, the court held that the rule of statutory construction allowing a court to ignore the plain language of a statute when literal interpretation results in absurdity is entirely inapplicable, and here, a literal interpretation of section 1114 reveals a remedial and equitable statutory scheme that, consistent with Congress' concerns when enacting the RBBPA, attempts to prevent the human dimension of terminating retiree benefits from being obscured by the business of bankruptcy.

Ferren C. v. Sch. Dist. of Philadelphia, 09-1587, concerned a challenge to the district court's various orders against the defendant in plaintiff's suit challenging the administrative decisions of a hearing officer and appeals panel, that the school district was not required to provide plaintiff with an IEP during the three-year compensatory period.  In affirming the district court's judgment ordering the school district, for the duration of plaintiff's three years of compensatory education, to annually reevaluate plaintiff, provide her with annual IEPs, and serve as her Local Education Agency, the court held that the district court had equitable power under the IDEA to grant relief of this nature and the relief furthers the purposes of the IDEA.

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