Articles 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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EZ-FLO manufactures supply lines that connect water pipes to plumbing fixtures. The supply lines consist of flexible tubing on the inside, a protective covering of braided wire on the outside, and plastic nuts on both ends that connect the supply lines to adjacent plumbing. Plaintiffs, insurance companies, alleged that the plastic nuts are defective and allow water to leak out of the supply lines and that they made payments to their insured homeowners for damages caused by the alleged defect. They filed suit as subrogees of those insureds, seeking over $5,000,000 in damages. EZ-FLO filed a notice of removal pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The district court held that it lacked jurisdiction because the amended complaint “does not include more than 100 named plaintiffs.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed. A CAFA “mass action” is defined as “any civil action . . . in which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact.” A lawsuit filed by 26 insurance companies in their capacity as subrogees of 145 insured homeowners does not qualify as a mass action. View "Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. EZ-FLO International, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration of putative class action claims against AT&T by customers who alleged that AT&T falsely advertised their mobile service plans as "unlimited" when in fact it intentionally slowed data at certain usage levels. The panel held that there was no state action in this case, rejecting plaintiffs' claim that there was state action whenever a party asserts a direct constitutional challenge to a permissive law under Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC, 518 U.S. 727 (1996). The panel held that Denver Area did not broadly rule that the government was the relevant state actor whenever there was a direct constitutional challenge to a "permissive" statute, and did not support finding state action here. The panel also held that the Federal Arbitration Act merely gives AT&T the private choice to arbitrate, and did not encourage arbitration such that AT&T's conduct was attributable to the state. View "Roberts v. AT&T Mobility, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's order granting plaintiff's motion to remand a putative class action alleging that Monterey recorded or monitored its telephone conversations with plaintiff without giving her notice. The panel held that plaintiff did not meet the requirements of the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332, home-state controversy exception because she did not prove that two-thirds of all class members were California citizens. In this case, plaintiff seeks to remand an otherwise valid CAFA case to state court when only a portion of the class meets the two-thirds citizenship requirement. The size of the entire class is unknown and plaintiff failed to prove that two-thirds of class members are California citizens because there was no evidence regarding the citizenship of class members who made or received a phone call from Monterey while located in, but not residing in, California or Washington. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Brinkley v. Monterey Financial Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) deadline, which governs interlocutory appeals of orders granting or denying class action certification, is not jurisdictional, and thus equitable exceptions apply. The Ninth Circuit held that a motion for reconsideration filed within the Rule 23(f) deadline will toll the deadline; additional equitable circumstances may also warrant tolling; and, in this case, the Rule 23(f) deadline was tolled when counsel for the lead plaintiff, within fourteen days of the district court's decertification order, informed the court of his intention to seek reconsideration, explained his reasons for doing so, and the court set a date for filing the motion with which counsel complied. On the merits, the panel held that the district court abused its discretion in decertifying the class. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lambert v. Nutraceutical Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action