Dismissal of single claim from consolidated multidistrict litigation immediately appealable

The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the dismissal of a putative class action anti-trust claim in LIBOR Multidistrict litigation suit Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp. (2015 U.S. LEXIS 756).  The Court held that such dismissal removed the plaintiffs from the consolidated proceeding, triggering the right to appeal under 28 USC §1291. Plaintiffs brought their suit in the Southern District of New York alleging a single claim under federal antitrust law.  As 60 other cases were pending, the cases were consolidated pursuant to 28 USC §1407.  When the defendants moved to dismiss, the court granted the motion without leave to amend on the grounds that plaintiffs suffered no antitrust injury.  Assuming that the plaintiffs were entitled to an immediate appeal, the court granted Rule 54(b) certifications for the parties with separate claims remaining.  The Second Circuit quickly dismissed the appeal, however, holding that the order did not dismiss all claims in the consolidated action.  Plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court reversed the order explaining that each action retained its separate identity even when consolidated.  The dismissal effectively removed the plaintiffs from the consolidated action and made the decision immediately appealable.  The Court also found it to be sensible based on the 30-day limitation for appeals.  The Defendants argued that parties with remaining claims would be unlikely to appeal the dismissed claims, but that was the exact and correct reason for the Rule 54(b) certifications.

The Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit decision and remanded the case.