Articles 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

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order approving the cy pres-only settlement arising from class action claims that Google violated users' privacy by disclosing their Internet search terms to owners of third-party websites. The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in approving a cy pres- only settlement where the settlement funds were non-distributable; the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding the superiority requirement was met because the litigation would otherwise be economically infeasible; the district court did not abuse its discretion in approving the six cy pres recipients; the district court appropriately found that the cy pres distribution addressed the objectives of the Stored Communications Act and furthered the interests of the class members; a prior relationship or connection between the cy pres recipient and the parties or their counsel, without more, was not an absolute disqualifier; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by approving $2.125 million in fees and $21,643.16 in costs. View "In re Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation" on Justia Law

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A plaintiff may rely on the "deterrent effect doctrine" to establish constitutional standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., where she lacks firsthand knowledge that an establishment is not in ADA compliance. A plaintiff has constitutional standing where her only motivation for visiting a facility is to test it for ADA compliance. The Ninth Circuit held that, although plaintiffs in this case have standing to maintain their ADA suit, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification because plaintiffs failed to meet the commonality requirement in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. View "Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center v. Hospitality Properties Trust" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a would-be class-action against China Agritech and others, alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Resh Action). Plaintiffs in this case were unnamed plaintiffs in two earlier would-be class actions against many of the same defendants based on the same underlying events (Dean and Smyth Actions). Class action certification was denied in both cases. Determining that appellate jurisdiction was proper, the Ninth Circuit held that the would-be class action brought by the Resh plaintiffs was not time-barred. In this case, plaintiffs' individual claims were tolled under American Pipe & Construction Co v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974), and Crown, Cork & Seal Co. v. Parker, 462 U.S. 345 (1983), during the pendency of the Dean and Smyth Actions. The panel explained that so long as they can satisfy the criteria of FRCP 23, and can persuade the district court that comity or preclusion principles do not bar their action, they were entitled to bring their timely individual claims as named plaintiffs in a would-be class action. The panel held that permitting future class action named plaintiffs, who were unnamed class members in previously uncertified classes, to avail themselves of American Pipe tolling would advance the policy objectives that led the Supreme Court to permit tolling in the first place View "Resh v. China Agritech" on Justia Law