LOCATION: Police Car
DOCKET NO.: 78-572
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
CITATION: 445 US 388 (1980)
ARGUED: Oct 02, 1979
DECIDED: Mar 19, 1980
Kenneth N. Flaxman - on behalf of respondent
Kent L. Jones - on behalf of the petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for United States Parole Commission v. GeraghtyAudio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 02, 1979 in United States Parole Commission v. Geraghty
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 19, 1980 in United States Parole Commission v. Geraghty
Harry A. Blackmun:
The second case, US Parole Commission against Geraghty comes to us from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Geraghty was a federal prisoner and he was twice denied parole.
He brought a lawsuit in federal court challenging the validity of the United States Parole Commission's Parole Release Guidelines.
He purported to represent a class of all federal prisoners eligible for release.
The trial court refused to certify the class and gave judgment for the defendants on the merits.
Geraghty appealed and while that appeal was pending, he was released from prison.
The Court of Appeals held that his did not render the case moot.
It went on to hold that class certification would not be inappropriate and it therefore reversed the denial of class certification.
In an opinion filed today, we hold that a purported class action does not become moot upon the expiration of the named plaintiff's substantive claim even though class certification has been denied.
And this is because the representative of the purported class retains a personal stake in obtaining a class certification sufficient to assure the maintenance of the case or controversy standard required under Article III of the constitution.
We therefore approve the judgment of the Court of Appeals except for its ruling that the burden of constructing subclasses was on the District Court.
It is our view that that burden is on the plaintiff.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore vacated and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with the opinion that has been filed with the clerk.
I'm authorized to say Mr. Justice Powell has filed a dissenting opinion and is joined therein by the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Stewart, and Mr. Justice Rehnquist.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Blackmun.