Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders

PETITIONER:Oppenheimer Fund, Inc.
LOCATION:Allied Structural Steel Company: Industrial Construction Division

DOCKET NO.: 77-335
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 437 US 340 (1978)
ARGUED: Feb 28, 1978 / Mar 01, 1978
DECIDED: Jun 19, 1978

Donald N. Ruby – for respondents

Facts of the case


Media for Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – June 19, 1978 in Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Oppenheimer Fund Incorporated against Sanders will be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

This is a class action suit that comes to us from the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The merits of the case are not before us, the case presents a recurring question as to which party the class action plaintiff or the defendant should bear the expense of compiling the names and addresses of the members of the plaintiff class.

Although Civil Procedure Rule 23 deals specifically and in detail with class actions, the Court of Appeals held that the general discovery rules are applicable.

Its decision would require the class action defendant not only to assist in compiling the list but also to bear in this case the $16,000 expense incident there too.

We disagree with the Court of Appeals for reasons set forth in the Court’s opinion.

We hold that Rule 23D, not to discovery rules is applicable.

We further hold that although the District Court does have some discretion in allocating the cost of compiling the names and addresses of class members, that discretion was abused in this case.

We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Powell.