Articles Posted in Class Action

by
Washington public school teachers filed a class action to order the Director of DRS to return interest that was allegedly skimmed from their state-managed retirement accounts. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of a stipulated motion to certify a class and dismissal of the action as prudentially unripe. The panel held that the district court erred in dismissing the teachers' takings claim as prudentially unripe because DRS's withholding of the interest accrued on the teachers' accounts constitutes a per se taking to which the prudential ripeness test in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), did not apply. In regard to the Director's alternative grounds for summary judgment, the panel held that plaintiffs stated a takings claim for daily interest withheld by the Director; the panel clarified that the core property right recognized in Schneider v. California Department of Corrections, 151 F.3d 1194 (9th Cir. 1988), covered interest earned daily, even if payable less frequently; plaintiffs' takings claim was not barred by issue preclusion or by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; and the takings claim was not foreclosed by the Eleventh Amendment. The panel also held that the district court erred in denying the motion for class certification. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Fowler v. Guerin" on Justia Law

by
If a plaintiff would be entitled under a contract or statute to future attorneys' fees, such fees are at stake in the litigation and should be included in the amount in controversy. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order remanding this action to state court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The panel held that the district court erred in concluding that Swift failed to prove that the matter in controversy exceeded the sum or value of $5 million, as required for jurisdiction under CAFA. The panel held that defendants retained the burden of proving the amount of future attorney's fees by a preponderance of the evidence. Finally, the panel rejected plaintiff's contention that future attorneys' fees should not be included in the amount in controversy because they were inherently speculative. View "Fritsch v. Swift Transportation Company of Arizona, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
The district court denied class certification to a class of plaintiffs who allegedly received unsolicited faxed advertisements from McKesson between September 2009 and May 2010, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of class certification with respect to a possible subclass of the putative class members with the fifty-five unique fax numbers in Exhibit C; reversed the district court's holding that the other possible subclasses cannot satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3); held that the subclass of putative class members with 9,223 unique fax numbers that would be created by taking out of Exhibit A the putative class members listed in Exhibits B and C would satisfy the predominance requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3); remanded for a determination by the district court whether the claims and defenses applicable to some or all of the class of putative class members with 2,701 unique fax numbers listed in Exhibit B would satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3); and remanded to allow the district court to address the requirements of Rule 23(a). View "True Health Chiropractic, Inc. v. McKesson Corp." on Justia Law

by
Objectors challenged the district court's judgments in a settlement involving Volkswagen after the company admitted that it had installed defeat devices in certain models of their vehicles. These devices were at the center of a massive scheme by VW to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying the class where eligible sellers benefited from being in the class alongside vehicle owners and there were no signs of an improper conflict of interest that denied absent class members adequate representation. Furthermore, the district court more than discharged its duty in ensuring that the settlement was fair and adequate to the class. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Tori Partl's motion to opt out of the settlement class after the deadline to do so had passed. In this case, she had actual and timely notice of the proper method of excluding herself from the settlement, and was therefore responsible for the failure to opt out on time. View "Hill v. Volkswagen, AG" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of class certification in a putative class action alleging employment claims against Corona Medical Center and UHS of Delaware. Plaintiffs moved for certification of seven classes of Registered Nurses, alleging that they were underpaid by Corona. The panel held that the district court's typicality determination was premised on an error of law; Plaintiff Spriggs was not an adequate class representative, but Plaintiff Sali remained as an adequate representative plaintiff; the district court abused its discretion by concluding that attorneys from Bisnar Chase could not serve as adequate class counsel; and the district court erred by denying certification of the proposed rounding-time and wage-statement classes on the basis that they failed Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center" on Justia Law

by
Bozic purchased the weight-loss supplement Lipozene in her home state of Pennsylvania. Disappointed by the product, Bozic filed a putative class action in the Southern District of California, asserting state law claims and seeking a declaratory judgment defining Lipozene purchasers’ rights under a 2005 FTC consent decree that restricts Defendants’ ability to sell weight-loss products. The Southern District, where the decree was entered and where Defendants reside, retains jurisdiction over “construction, modification, and enforcement” of that decree. Two related putative class actions were already pending in California. Defendants moved to transfer the case to the Eastern District for consolidation with one of those cases or, in the alternative, to stay the proceedings. The court held that Bozic’s action was governed by the first-to-file rule and transferred the case. The Ninth Circuit denied Bozic’s request to reverse the transfer. While the Eastern District was not a proper venue under 28 U.S.C. 1391 and 28 U.S.C 1404(a) requires that an action can be transferred only to a district where it “might have been brought,” Bozic was not entitled to mandamus relief because issuance of a writ would have no practical impact on this case in its current procedural posture, and any injury Bozic might face was purely speculative. View "Bozic v. United States District Court, Southern District of California" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order approving a class settlement between students and Trump University. On appeal, a lone objector desired to opt out of the class and to bring her claims in a separate law suit. As a preliminary matter, the panel held that the objector had Article III standing because she had an interest in the settlement that created a case or controversy. On the merits, the panel held that the class notice did not allow a second opt-out opportunity; due process did not compel a second opt-out opportunity; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in approving the settlement. View "Simpson v. Trump University, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's order remanding plaintiff's putative class action against Wal-Mart to California state court. The panel held that the district court erred by exceeding its statutory authority in remanding sua sponte based on a nonjurisdictional defect. The panel also held that Wal-Mart did not waive its right to remove by filing a demurrer in state court, when its right to remove pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), was not ascertainable from plaintiff's pleading. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "Kenny v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of class certification in a nationwide class action settlement arising out of misstatements by Hyundai and Kia regarding the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. The panel held that the district court abused its discretion in certifying a nationwide settlement class without conducting a rigorous predominance analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) to determine whether variations in state consumer protection laws, or individual factual questions regarding exposure to the misleading statements, precluded certification. The panel remanded to the district court for further proceedings. The panel clarified some principles of attorneys' fee approval for the district court on remand. View "In re Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

by
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of class certification in a nationwide class action settlement arising out of misstatements by Hyundai and Kia regarding the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. The panel held that the district court abused its discretion in certifying a nationwide settlement class without conducting a rigorous predominance analysis under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) to determine whether variations in state consumer protection laws, or individual factual questions regarding exposure to the misleading statements, precluded certification. The panel remanded to the district court for further proceedings. The panel clarified some principles of attorneys' fee approval for the district court on remand. View "In re Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action