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Class Certification Denied For A Class Of One

April 11, 2012 3:42 PM | Posted by Koppel, Adam | Print this page

The plaintiff filed a class action complaint alleging the $24 annual administration fee per vehicle for property owners to use the electronically controlled toll booth violates a 1927 deed restriction which affords property owners the right to use the Venetian Causeway free from toll charges.  The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion to certify the class, and the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed. 

In its opinion, the Court first found the numerosity requirement lacking because the proposed class was overbroad.  The evidence as set forth demonstrated that plaintiff was the only one of the 1,400 participants in the Venetian Islands owners’ program to pay the administrative fee under protest.  Id. at *3.  Next, the Court found the typicality requirement unsatisfied as “…success in the eyes of [plaintiff] might well be seen as defeat of the interests of her island neighbors.”  Id. at *4.  Finally, the adequacy requirement was likewise lacking due to the potential conflict between plaintiff’s interests in the case and that of the purported class.  Id. at *5. 

In conclusion, the Court noted, “Aggregation of cases requires aggregation of interests.  At the class action hearing, [plaintiff] was unable to offer the name and address of a single neighbor who shared her interest.”  Id.