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Brian  Fitzpatrick - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Brian Fitzpatrick Brian  Fitzpatrick

Professor of Law | Vanderbilt University


Expert on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection, constitutional law and the Supreme Court.






Brian Fitzpatrick opening remarks at Iowa Judicial Nominating Process Brian T. Fitzpatrick: Scalia's Writing & the Growing Interest in Law Inside Politics:  Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy...What's Next? P.3



Brian Fitzpatrick's research at Vanderbilt focuses on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection and constitutional law. Professor Fitzpatrick joined Vanderbilt's law faculty in 2007 after serving as the John M. Olin Fellow at New York University School of Law. He graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Professor Fitzpatrick practiced commercial and appellate litigation for several years at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C., and served as Special Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Before earning his law degree, Professor Fitzpatrick graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's of science in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He has received the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Professor Award, which recognizes excellence in classroom teaching, for his Civil Procedure course.

Areas of Expertise (13)

campaign contributions

Class action law suits

women's reproductive rights

Class Actions

Class Action Lawsuits

Civil Procedure

Supreme Court

Federal Courts

Constitutional Law

Judicial Selection

roe v. wade

Reproductive Rights

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Education (2)

Harvard Law School: J.D., Law 2000

University of Notre Dame: B.S., Chemical Engineering 1997

Affiliations (10)

  • American Law Institute
  • Journal of Law, Economics and Organization
  • Journal of Empirical Legal Studies
  • Oxford University Press
  • Supreme Court Economic Review
  • American Bar Association
  • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
  • Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association
  • American Swiss Foundation Young Leaders
  • District of Columbia

Selected Media Appearances (8)

Class Settlement Portal, Other Innovations Could Improve Payouts

Bloomberg Law  online


There has long been anecdotal evidence that consumer class actions often have claims rates under 10%. Now the FTC has backed that up with what Vanderbilt Law Professor Brian T. Fitzpatrick called “the best study of claims rates by far that has ever been done.”

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Iowa Supreme Court takes a right turn under Gov. Reynolds

AP News  online


“Iowa was near the top in terms of leftward judiciary,” said Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick, who studied 3,000 state appellate judges tracking campaign contributions, party registration and primary voting data to reflect political leaning.

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Supreme Court could tip its hand on Roe v. Wade as soon as Tuesday by taking Indiana abortion case

CNBC  online


“You have three pretty solid votes to uphold most of this, one very likely vote, Kavanaugh, and the chief justice, [but] he could be peeled off now and again,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia who teaches law at Vanderbilt University. “I would put my wagers on upholding most of these laws.”

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Supreme courts Elections Courts Politics Alabama U.S. News North America Donald Trump State abortion bans may hand Democrats a political weapon

AP News  online


Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there are many “women, moderate women who are going to be scared that this right that they thought they had for the last 40-some years is going to be shelved” and they will be motivated to vote.

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Big Tech Vs. Big Privacy Lawsuits

Fortune  online


Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt University law professor, shares some of Senatore’s concerns. Law firms working with state attorneys general create potential conflicts of interest, he says, including the risk of AGs being influenced by campaign contributions. The worries may not be unfounded; Edelson’s firm has made a number of $10,000 donations in Illinois, including to the state’s current attorney general. Edelson responds that his firm backs politicians who “care about the same issues we do.” Fitzpatrick says forced arbitration is the greater harm because it deprives consumers of the right to sue and shields companies from accountability.

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The Trump administration is taking a closer look at class-action lawsuits that pay consumers

Marketwatch  online


Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor, said the motivations didn’t matter because while class action lawyers and companies might want to push through an agreed-upon deal at the end of a case, it was beneficial to have the federal government sometimes raising questions. “Our judges, as talented as they are, are accustomed to ruling in an adversarial process.”

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If Republicans sour on Kavanaugh, here are 4 alternatives waiting in the wings

Vox  online


Brian Fitzpatrick of Vanderbilt Law, who researches federal courts, told Bloomberg BNA that Thapar was ”very Scalia-like and Thomas-like” in his jurisprudence — and accordingly, when he was in the mix this summer, progressive group Demand Justice mobilized to stop his prospective nomination.

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Supreme Court Upholds Workplace Arbitration Contracts Barring Class Actions

New York Times  online


Brian T. Fitzpatrick, a law professor at Vanderbilt University who studies arbitrations and class actions, said the ruling was unsurprising in light of earlier Supreme Court decisions. Justice Gorsuch, he added, “appears to have put his cards on the table as firmly in favor of allowing class actions to be stamped out through arbitration agreements.”

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Selected Articles (3)

The Discovery Tax Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-39

Brian T Fitzpatrick

2018 "The American civil discovery regime is what is known as producer-pays: one side requests information and the other side has to pay whatever it costs to produce it. The 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have not changed this much and are not likely to in the future."

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Fair Division of Attorneys' Fees Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 18-51

Edward K Cheng, Paul H Edelman, Brian T Fitzpatrick

2018 "In complex litigation involving multiple law firms, courts often face the unenviable task of dividing attorneys' fees. Often, courts fall back on the so-called lodestar method, which has significant drawbacks and creates poor incentives."

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Can and Should the New Third-Party Litigation Financing Come to Class Actions? Theoretical Inquires in Law

Brian T Fitzpatrick

2018 "In the United States, there has been tremendous growth in a form of third-party litigation financing where investors buy pieces of lawsuits from plaintiffs. Many scholars believe that this new financing helps to balance the risk tolerance of plaintiffs and defendants and thereby facilitates the resolution of litigation in a way that more closely tracks the goals of the substantive law."

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