69 Fla. L. Rev. 989 (2017)
View the article via pdf

Categories

Class Actions

Abstract

Class actions are common litigation tools that plaintiffs use to efficiently adjudicate their rights. However, with the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act and the Florida Capacity to Sue statute, class plaintiffs could very quickly find their claims traveling from state to federal court, or simply being dismissed for lack of jurisdiction if originally filed in federal court. While this may not initially suggest an issue, CAFA and the Florida Capacity to Sue statute are creating tremendous traffic in federal courts. When considered with Florida’s strict application of the statute of limitations for class actions, a plaintiff’s limitations period may run while the lawsuit waits its turn to be heard in federal court. This Note explores the reluctance of both Florida and federal courts, interpreting Florida law, to apply any form of class action tolling, either through the American Pipe rule or equitable tolling, and the consequences of this choice on Florida lawsuits. While the court in Sacred Heart Health System v. Humana Military Healthcare Services came close to solving the tolling issue in Florida, the problem was never ultimately resolved. Following this almost groundbreaking case, the court in Dineen interpreted Florida law to not permit class action tolling, and left the plaintiffs without any means of relief. This Note then looks to other jurisdictions that have solved the tolling issue with savings statutes and explains why this is the best method for addressing the tolling issue in Florida. After considering this issue in light of the unique policy concerns underlying class actions and statutes of limitations, this Note argues that the Florida Legislature must adopt a savings statute to toll the limitations period for class actions that are denied relief because of jurisdictional issues.