Seventh Circuit reverses denial of certification in antitrust case

Posted on: February 9th, 2012 by Steve Larson

In Messner v. Northshore Univ. HealthSystem, No. 10-2514 (7th Cir. Jan 13, 2012), the Seventh Circuit reversed the denial of class certification in an antitrust class action.  Plaintiff had pursued a Rule 23(f) discretionary appeal after denial of class certification.  The complaint alleged violations of the Clayton Act and the Sherman Act.   The plaintiffs sought to certify a class of individual patients and third-party payors who allegedly paid higher prices for hospital care resulting from a merger between Northshore University HealthSystem and Highland Park Hospital.  The district court denied certification under Rule 23(b)(3), holding that the plaintiffs’ expert did not demonstrate that his methodology could address the issue of antitrust impact on a class-wide basis. The Seventh Circuit disagreed, vacated the district court’s order, and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.