Class Action Blog by Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

April 24, 2014 9:12 AM | Posted by Amanda Romfh Jesteadt and Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri denied a plaintiff’s motion to remand a collection against insurers brought on behalf of a certified class that had obtained a judgment in a separate action against a mobile home park operator. After obtaining the judgment, the class representative filed a separate “equitable garnishment action” against the park operator’s insurers under a Missouri statute that provides for collection of insurance by a judgment creditor. read more
April 24, 2014 8:58 AM | Posted by Adam J. Koppel and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
District Courts continue to shape the boundaries of CAFA jurisdiction in suits that are not pleaded as class actions. read more
April 23, 2014 8:59 AM | Posted by Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
On April 7, 2014, the Supreme Court accepted certiorari review in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company LLC v. Owens, No. 13-719, to resolve a circuit split regarding whether the Class Action Fairness Act requires a removing defendant to submit its evidence in support of removal at the time of the notice of removal or whether affidavit evidence can be submitted later in response to a motion to remand. read more
April 22, 2014 8:33 AM | Posted by Alina Alonso Rodriguez and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
The Eastern District of Virginia weighed in on the split among federal district courts as to whether affidavits in support of or in opposition to motions for class certification must be based on personal knowledge. The affidavit in question began with the boilerplate predicate, “I have personal knowledge of the matters discussed below,” but the affiant admitted later in deposition that he did not. In fact, the affiant conceded that he simply signed a document prepared by an unknown lawyer for his employer and did not even read the attached exhibits about which he made substantive statements in the text of the affidavit. read more
April 21, 2014 9:13 AM | Posted by Dean A. Morande and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
In what may become a more common trend in CAFA litigation based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, ––– U.S. ––––, 133 S.Ct. 1345 (2013), the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court’s order remanding the case back to state court. read more
April 16, 2014 11:03 AM | Posted by Christopher S. Coutroulis | Permalink
Companies reported an increase in their annual class action spending of 12 percent from 2012 to 2013, with nearly 25 percent anticipating that their spending will continue to rise this year according to Carlton Fields Jorden Burt’s 2014 Class Action Survey. Consistent with this trend, corporate counsel reported a rise in ‘high risk/bet-the-company’ matters compared to more routine matters — up from six percent to more than 11 percent. read more
April 11, 2014 4:14 PM | Posted by Paul G. Williams and Pedro Pavon | Permalink
Google recently scored a big victory in its battle against claims that it is illegally intercepting and scanning the content of emails in order to provide personalized advertisements to Gmail users. Plaintiffs in the various lawsuits – which were consolidated for pretrial purposes in the Northern District of California – sought certification of classes including “education” users, who use Gmail provided by their school, as well as other direct and indirect users (including individuals who do not have Gmail accounts, but send emails to Gmail users). read more
April 9, 2014 8:32 AM | Posted by Christine A. Stoddard and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently denied certification of a putative securities law class after finding that plaintiff failed to put forth actual facts showing adequacy and predominance, as required to satisfy the “stringent standards” of Rule 23 pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decisions in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes and Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, as well as the Fifth Circuit’s decision in the securities law context in Berger v. Compaq Computer Corp.  The plaintiff had sought to certify a class of investors who acquired stock from Kosmos Energy Limited through its May, 2011 initial public offering, claiming the company’s registration statement and prospectus contained false and misleading information. read more
April 8, 2014 1:21 PM | Posted by Paul G. Williams and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
Following Hurricane Katrina, the State of Louisiana filed a class action to recover under homeowners’ insurance policies that the state had received by assignment through a disaster relief program. The insurers successfully removed to federal court based on CAFA jurisdiction, and challenged the assignability of the homeowners’ contractual rights. read more
April 3, 2014 11:09 AM | Posted by Michael A. Greenfield and Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied class certification in a product mislabeling case after holding that named plaintiff lacked credibility on a material issue and, therefore, could not be an adequate class representative under Rule 23(a)(4). Plaintiff’s putative class action complaint alleged that manufacturer Boiron violated, among other laws, the California Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act by misrepresenting on its labels for “Oscillococcinum” or “Oscillo” that its product “temporarily relieve[s] flu-like symptoms” and reduces their duration and severity. Plaintiff filed his complaint on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Oscillo in reliance on Boiron’s allegedly misleading labels. read more
April 2, 2014 9:08 AM | Posted by Amy-Hurwitz | Permalink
In Moore v. GNC Holdings, Inc., Southern District of Florida Judge Dimetrouleas ordered partial summary judgment in favor of GNC and against the class as to plaintiffs’ damages claims under Florida’s Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). While this order does not dispense with all of the claims, it does eliminate any potential monetary award to the class, and limits plaintiffs to injunctive relief. read more
April 2, 2014 8:29 AM | Posted by Jacob R. Hathorn and Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that neither a damages waiver nor the passage of more than 30 days after receipt of a complaint prevented an employer’s removal under CAFA. A putative class of California store managers suing for lost overtime successfully prevented the defendant-employer’s first attempt at removal by expressly disclaiming any right to recover damages over $4,999,999.99, thereby ensuring that CAFA’s $5 million amount in controversy requirement could not be met. read more
April 1, 2014 9:48 AM | Posted by Clifton R. Gruhn & Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied plaintiffs’ motion for nationwide class certification because the proposed class did not meet Rule 23’s commonality or predominance requirements. The putative class plaintiffs had entered into agreements granting them rights to distribute the defendant’s cars in the United States. The plaintiffs had paid the defendant’s “application” fees and, in some instances, prepared dealerships to receive new inventory. When the defendant decided not to enter the U.S. market, the plaintiffs brought suit and sought certification of a nationwide class asserting statutory claims for violations of the Georgia Motor Vehicle Franchise Practices Act, and common law claims for unjust enrichment, and promissory estoppel. The plaintiffs argued that all claims should be governed by Georgia law. read more
February 18, 2014 11:58 AM | Posted by Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
On February 14, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Class Action Fairness Act’s (CAFA) $5,000,000 amount-in-controversy requirement can be satisfied where the plaintiff seeks only declaratory relief. S. Fla. Wellness, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 14-10001, --- F.3d ----, 2014 WL 576111 (11th Cir. Feb. 14, 2014).  A dispute arose when South Florida Wellness, a Florida-based healthcare provider, sought payment from Allstate for its treatment of an Allstate insured under a policy that provided for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.  South Florida Wellness sought payment of 80% of the amount billed pursuant to § 627.736(1)(a), Fla. Stat., but Allstate paid a lower amount based on its interpretation of the policy and pursuant to the reimbursement methodology set forth in § 627.736(5)(a), Fla. Stat.  South Florida Wellness contended that Allstate was required to clearly and unambiguously indicate in its policies that it would limit payments to the statutory fee schedule in § 627.736(5)(a). read more
February 5, 2014 9:25 AM | Posted by Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
On January 31, 2014, the Middle District of Florida dismissed, without prejudice,  a medical monitoring claim in a spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation products liability class action.  Gibson v. LaPolla Indus., Inc., et al., No. 6:13-cv-646-Orl-36KRS (Dkt. 48).  The court held that the plaintiffs did not “specify any single serious condition or even reasonably specific group of serious conditions that they are at a significantly increased risk of contracting as a result of the defendants’ conduct.”  Citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007), the Middle District found that the plaintiffs’ allegations of increased risk of contracting “other neurological issues and respiratory issues” were “so general that they fail to ‘nudge’ plaintiffs’ medical monitoring claim across the line from conceivable to plausible” and, therefore, dismissed the claim without prejudice.  In doing so, the court agreed with LaPolla’s argument that the claim should be dismissed because plaintiffs merely recited the elements of a medical monitoring claim as set forth in Petito v. A.H. Robins Co., Inc., 750 So. 2d 103, 106-07 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999). read more
January 16, 2014 9:42 AM | Posted by Steven Blickensderfer | Permalink
On January 14, 2013, the United States Supreme Court decided Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp., --- U.S. ---, No. 12-1036.  The question presented in that case was whether a suit filed by a state as the sole plaintiff constituted a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 where it included a claim for restitution based on injuries suffered by the state’s citizens.  Holding it did not, the Court determined that a “mass action” must involve “monetary claims brought by 100 or more persons who propose to try those claims jointly as named plaintiffs.” read more
December 9, 2013 1:30 PM | Posted by Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
On December 9, 2013, the Southern District of Florida in Renzi v. Demilec (USA) LLC, et al., No. 9:12-cv-80516-KAM, granted Spray Polyurethane Foam “(SPF”) insulation manufacturer Demilec’s motion for partial summary judgment on class representative Renzi's claim for "violation of consumer protection acts."  See Renzi (Dkt. 113).  Renzi sought relief on behalf of a nationwide class under not only the consumer protection act of Florida, her state of residence, but also the consumer protection acts of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.  The Southern District ruled that Renzi lacked standing to bring claims under the consumer protection acts of states other than Florida.  Id. read more
December 9, 2013 9:39 AM | Posted by D. Matthew Allen | Permalink
Our class action blog series on effective partnering between inside and outside counsel concludes with a final roundup of the 12 part series. read more
December 2, 2013 10:24 AM | Posted by D. Matthew Allen | Permalink
This concludes our series of blog posts on effective partnering between inside and outside counsel to defend against class action lawsuits. read more
November 25, 2013 9:18 AM | Posted by D. Matthew Allen | Permalink
This continues our series of blog posts on effective partnering between inside and outside counsel to defend against class action lawsuits. read more