School of Law News
USD Law Prof. Shaun Martin’s Arguments Win Unanimous Calif. Supreme Court Ruling
San Diego (March 3, 2011) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Shaun Martin’s arguments for the plaintiff and appellant in Baycol Case I and II has won a unanimous opinion from the California Supreme Court. Professor Martin successfully argued the case on February 8, 2011, and the court’s opinion was published on February 28, 2011.
Baycol Case I and II involved a petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed, in part, the judgment in a civil action and dismissed the appeal. The question before the court was whether the "death knell doctrine" required plaintiff to immediately appeal the sustaining of a demurrer as to class claims when the ruling resolved both individual and class claims, or whether the one final judgment rule applied and required a single appeal from the subsequent entry of final judgment on all claims?
Martin argued that the one final judgment rule applied, and that when a single order dismissed both individual and class claims, that dismissal required only a single appeal, and that the deadline for that appeal ran from the entry of final judgment.
The decision revives an appeal involving a Baycol heart drug state consumer class action, saying an appeals court misapplied the state's "death knell" doctrine about what claims can be appealed and how soon they must be appealed.
The court reinstated claims on behalf of California consumers who purchased the cholesterol drug marketed under the name Baycol. The drug was marketed by Bayer Corporation from 1997 until 2001, when it withdrew Baycol from the market after data showing that the drug may be linked to serious muscle debilitating illnesses like Rhabdomyolysis, possibly leading to death.
The court’s decision clarifies an important point of law in class action cases for the lower courts and other litigants.
About Shaun P. Martin
Professor Shaun P. Martin served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a general editor of Harvard University’s Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law with Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Oliver in Los Angeles before coming to USD in 1995. Martin teaches civil procedure and professional ethics. He writes in the areas of civil procedure, criminal law and professional responsibility. Among his publications are "Intracorporate Conspiracies," Stanford Law Review, "Encumbered Shares," Illinois Law Review, and "Substitution," Tennessee Law Review. He received the Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching in both 2006 and 1999 and was the Herzog Endowed Scholar in 2007. Professor Martin has helped argue four cases in the United States Supreme Court during the past several years and has argued numerous cases in both the California Court of Appeal and in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
About the University of San Diego School of Law
The University of San Diego School of Law is a center of academic excellence focused on preparing its students for legal practice in the new century. One of the most selective law schools in the country, the School of Law's nationally recognized faculty create a demanding, yet welcoming environment that emphasizes individualized education. USD law school graduates consistently score higher than the state average on the California Bar Exam and go on to practice law throughout the country and abroad, forming an influential network of alumni. USD School of Law is one of only 81 law schools in the country to have a chapter of the Order of the Coif, the most distinguished rank of American law schools. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.
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