Articles Posted in Class Action

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of non-class counsel's motions for attorneys' fees arising from a class action settlement over claims regarding Volkswagen's use of defeat devices in certain vehicles. The panel held that law firms and lawyers that appealed in their own names had standing to challenge the fee order, because they suffered an injury (deprivation of attorneys' fees) that was caused by the conduct complained of (the fee order) and would be redressed by judicial relief. The panel also held that, because the underlying class action did not feature a traditional common fund from which attorneys' fees were procured, appellants could only have collected fees if they provided a substantial benefit to the class. In this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that appellants did not and denying the fee motions on this basis. Finally, the panel rejected additional arguments by the Nagel Appellants and held that Appellant Feinman's challenge was moot. View "In re Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Productions Liability Litigation" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The panel held that this is essentially a dispute between those who use the Golden Gate Bridge to travel between Marin County, California and San Francisco, California, and defendants who are charged with operating the bridge on behalf of the State of California. The panel held that the district court properly ruled that the case against Conduent, the toll collector, belongs in state court with the California entities that manage the bridge's maintenance and operation. View "Kendrick v. Conduent State and Local Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Objecting class members challenged the district court's approval of a class action settlement over claims alleging that defendants enrolled consumers in a membership rewards program without their consent and then mishandled their billing information. The Ninth Circuit vacated the fee award and held that the district court failed to treat credits as coupons under the Class Action Fairness Act when calculating the award. The panel held, however, that the district court did not abuse its discretion by approving the use of cy pres in this case or to approve the particular recipients. Finally, it was unnecessary to reverse the entire settlement approval in conjunction with the panel's vacatur of the fee award. The panel remanded the award of attorney's fees but otherwise affirmed the settlement. View "Romero v. Provide Commerce, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiffs, current and former Uber drivers, filed putative class actions alleging that Uber violated various federal and state statutes by, among other things, misclassifying drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The Ninth Circuit previously considered and reversed the district court's orders denying Uber's motions to compel arbitration in Mohamed v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 848 F.3d 1201, 1206 (9th Cir. 2016). In this case, the panel rejected plaintiffs' additional arguments as to why the arbitration agreements were unenforceable. Because the class certification by the district court was premised on the district court's determination that the arbitration agreements were unenforceable, the panel reversed class certification. The panel also held that the Rule 23(d) orders were based on the district court’s denial of the motions to compel arbitration and its granting of class certification. Because these decisions must be reversed, there was no longer a basis for the district court's restrictions on Uber's communication with class and putative class members. Therefore, these orders were moot and the panel reversed. View "O'Connor v. Uber" on Justia Law

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GAC appealed the district court's remand of plaintiff's putative class action to Los Angeles Superior Court. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court erroneously found that more than two-thirds of the putative class members were citizens of California at the time of removal. Therefore, the panel vacated the district court's remand to state court and remanded to federal district court for further proceedings. In district court, plaintiff should be permitted to conduct jurisdictional discovery in this matter and to renew her motion to remand. View "King v. Great American Chicken Corp, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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