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D.L. v. District of Columbia

AARP Supports Right to Bring Class Action Civil Rights Challenges


On April 12, 2013, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the D.L. case should be reconsidered by the district court because of differences between the claims of various members of the plaintiff class. In particular the appeals court directed the trial court to consider whether the single plaintiff class – which the appeal court said was improper -- could be lawfully divided into valid “sub-classes” of children whose claims against the District within each sub-class would be sufficiently common to meet the standards imposed by the Wal-Mart decision.

What’s at Stake

This case addresses new limitations on class action litigation recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court. As the D.L. case demonstrates, the courts will require that plaintiffs to show, at the class action stage, that each member of a proposed class or sub class would – if liability is ultimately proven – suffer similar harm and obtain similar benefit from court-ordered relief if the case is permitted to proceed as a class action.

Case Status

D.L. v. District of Columbia was before the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) is an advocate in courts nationwide for the rights of people 50 and older, addressing diverse legal issues that affect their daily lives and assuring that they have a voice in the judicial system. Learn more about our litigation teams.