Coopers & Lybrand v. Livesay Case Brief

Facts of the Case

“Respondents, Livesay et al., who had purchased securities in reliance on a prospectus, brought this action on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly situated purchasers, alleging that Coopers & Lybrand had violated the federal securities laws. The District Court first certified the action as a class action under, and then, after further proceedings, decertified the class. Respondents then filed a notice of appeal pursuant to, under which courts of appeals have jurisdiction of appeals from all “final decisions” of the district courts except where a direct review may be had in the Supreme Court. After examining the amount of respondents’ claims in relation to their financial resources and the probable cost of the litigation, the Court of Appeals concluded that they would not pursue their claims individually. On the basis of the “death knell” doctrine (which assumes that without the incentive of a possible group recovery the individual plaintiff may find it economically imprudent to pursue his lawsuit to a final judgment and then seek appellate review of an adverse class determination), the Court of Appeals held that it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and reversed the District Court’s order decertifying the class. Upon certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States,  the Respondents contended that an order denying class certification is appealable under both the “death knell” doctrine and the “collateral order” exception articulated inv..”


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Case Information

Citation: 437 US 463 (1978)
Argued: Mar 22, 1978
Decided: Jun 21, 1978
Case Brief: 1978