Dolbin v. McDonough


Question(s) Presented

“This Court held in United States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 402 (1980) that a plaintiff who brings a class action presents two separate issues for judicial resolution, one is the claim on the merits and the other is the claim that he is entitled to represent a class. Plaintiffs whose claims are satisfied through entry of judgment over their objections after the denial of a class certification ruling still retain a ‘personal stake’ in obtaining class certification and may nevertheless appeal the denial of a request for class certification and class action (RCA) because an action brought on behalf of a class does not become moot upon expiration of the named plaintiff’s substantive claim.”

“When Air Force veteran Timothy J. Dolbin challenged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s disparate docketing practices and egregious delays on behalf of himself and others through an RCA the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) denied his request by interpreting and relying on a portion of the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (VAIMA) that the parties agreed is inapplicable to his claim and his RCA. Nearly a year after the Veterans Court’s decision Mr. Dolbin’s individual claim became moot. The Federal Circuit held that the RCA was also moot because the Veterans Court did not reach the merits of the RCA so the relation back doctrine and the exception to mootness set forth in Geraghty did not apply.”

“The question presented is: If an RCA under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is dismissed based on an erroneous interpretation of law, but not on the merits, does the named plaintiff seeking to represent the class retain a personal interest to appeal the dismissal if his/her individual claim became moot after the dismissal of the RCA?”

Posts About this Case

Proceedings and Orders
November 29, 2023
DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 1/5/2024.
January 8, 2024
Petition DENIED.