Class Action Blog by Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

October 23, 2014 1:49 PM | Posted by Michael Greenfield and Ben Seessel | Permalink
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied plaintiffs’ motion to certify certain issues under Rule 23(c)(4) and 23(b)(2), holding that the presence of numerous individualized questions, choice-of-law concerns, and other inefficiencies in the putative class litigation made certification inappropriate.  Allstate had terminated over 6,200 agents, 90% of whom happened to be over the age of 40, offering four different severance options to the terminated agents.  Three of the options offered enhanced severance benefits but required the agents to execute a release in order to be entitled to them.  Plaintiffs sought certification of four issues regarding the validity of the release: 1) involuntariness under a federal standard with respect to plaintiff’s federal claims, 2) unconscionability, 3) unclean hands, and 4) an obscure “part and parcel” theory derived from antitrust jurisprudence read more
October 22, 2014 9:14 AM | Posted by Clifton R. Gruhn & Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
A California federal district court denied certification of two nationwide classes, each asserting a price-fixing conspiracy for optical disk drives (“ODD”), because the plaintiffs’ experts failed to provide a viable methodology for establishing class-wide antitrust injury. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants colluded to fix prices for ODDs, thereby preventing ODD prices from declining as quickly or as far as they would have absent the defendants’ anticompetitive agreements. read more
October 21, 2014 3:18 PM | Posted by Jacob R. Hathorn and Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
In addition to the explicit Rule 23(a) requirements of numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation, an implied prerequisite to certification is that the class must be sufficiently definite: that is, the party seeking certification must demonstrate that an identifiable and ascertainable class exists. A class is ascertainable if it is defined by objective criteria and is sufficiently definite so that it is administratively feasible to determine whether a particular individual is a member of the class, which is important for purposes of being able to enforce the preclusive effect of a final judgment. read more
October 16, 2014 8:21 AM | Posted by Alina Alonso Rodriguez and Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
The Southern District of Texas found that negligent misstatement claims filed more than two years after the last alleged misstatement were time-barred and that the applicable statute of limitations was not tolled under American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974). read more
October 3, 2014 9:17 AM | Posted by Christine A. Stoddard and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
In a recent case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, plaintiffs brought a putative class action against various defendants involved in milk production, alleging they violated the antitrust laws of fifteen states and Washington, D.C. by engaging in a conspiracy to limit the production and  increase the price of raw milk. Plaintiffs sought class certification in each of the sixteen jurisdictions; the Northern District granted the motion in all but one state, where certification failed for lack of standing. read more
October 2, 2014 4:40 PM | Posted by Oleg Rivkin and Kristin Shepard | Permalink
A New York federal district court, after holding an evidentiary hearing, certified a class for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Plaintiff alleged that the defendant, a collection agency, repeatedly called his cell phone using an automated dialing system without his consent, including after being told that he was not the party defendant was trying to reach and after plaintiff had asked to be put on a “do not call” list.  Plaintiff claimed statutory damages of $500 per violation and up to $1,500 per willful violation for an alleged 146,879 unique cell phone numbers that defendant purportedly called during the class period. read more
October 1, 2014 4:48 PM | Posted by Paul G. Williams and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
The Eastern District of Michigan has certified a class of ERISA plan participants challenging an amendment which, in attempt to address the plan’s underfunded status, reduced their monthly disability payments.  The Court certified a class of recipients of disability retirement benefits under the plan, rejecting challenges to numerosity, adequacy, and commonality. read more
September 25, 2014 8:21 AM | Posted by Michael Greenfield and Ben Seessel | Permalink
In a 5-4 decision, the Texas Supreme Court held that the cy pres provision of a class action settlement was not subject to the state’s Unclaimed Property Act. After the trial court certified a class of subcontractors whose pay allegedly had been improperly docked by the defendant contractor, the parties settled the case on a class-wide basis agreeing that the defendant would issue refund checks to the aggrieved class members. read more
September 25, 2014 8:17 AM | Posted by Dean A. Morande and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
A group of registered nurses formerly employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs sued the United States Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) in a putative class action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief in connection with a recalculation of their retirement annuities that OPM was obligated to perform under the retroactive application of the Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act (the “Enhancement Act”). read more
September 24, 2014 9:00 AM | Posted by Jacob Hathorn and Ben Seessel | Permalink
A California federal district court recently denied a motion for class certification because the evidence presented in connection with the motion refuted plaintiffs’ attempted showing of commonality through uniform exposure to unlawful corporate policies. read more
September 23, 2014 10:38 AM | Posted by Clifton R. Gruhn and Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
Plaintiffs alleged in their putative nationwide class action complaint that Quest Diagnostics was liable for consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act for overbilling putative class members and, in some instances, sending them improper written demands from debt collectors. read more
September 19, 2014 3:40 PM | Posted by Jaret J. Fuente and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
The Ninth Circuit recently affirmed certification of a class of an estimated 800 current and former California-based Allstate Insurance Company adjusters who allege that Allstate has a practice or unofficial policy of requiring its hourly claims adjusters to work unpaid off-the-clock overtime in violation of California law. read more
September 18, 2014 8:10 AM | Posted by Amanda Romfh Jesteadt and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
In 2008, investors in the Parkcentral hedge fund lost as much as $3 billion dollars when Parkcentral’s investment in commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) was devalued. The investors, limited partners of Parkcentral, sued employees of Parkcentral’s general partner alleging that they breached fiduciary duties by making material misrepresentations and omissions regarding the nature of Parkcentral’s investments and hedging strategy. In particular, the investors claim that the defendants had falsely represented to the investors that the long position in AAA-rated CMBS would be hedged when in fact it was not. read more
September 16, 2014 4:01 PM | Posted by Alina Alonso Rodriguez and Gary M. Pappas | Permalink
Having requested and obtained certification of a class of consumers who had purchased a number of Whirlpool Duet model washers allegedly susceptible to serious mold problems, Plaintiffs later sought to limit the class so as to exclude certain models.  Whirlpool opposed the modification and, instead, sought decertification.  The Northern District of Ohio granted Plaintiffs’ motion in part, modifying the class, and denied Whirlpool’s motion to decertify. read more
September 9, 2014 8:47 AM | Posted by Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
The Seventh Circuit recently addressed the applicability of the home state exception under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”).  The case arose from health insurer Right Choice Insurance Company’s withdrawal from the Illinois market and cancellation of its insurance policies.  Former policyholders filed a putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging that cancellation of their policies violated Illinois law.  The District Court declined to certify a class and later ruled against plaintiffs on the merits. read more
September 5, 2014 3:26 PM | Posted by Christine A. Stoddard and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
In a recent case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, a plaintiff brought a putative class action alleging that defendants, a creditor and a debt collection firm, sent debt collection notices that failed to disclose the current creditor’s name in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the California equivalent.  One defendant made an offer of judgment to the plaintiff pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, offering her $3,500 to resolve her individual claim along with attorney’s fees and costs. read more
September 4, 2014 11:04 AM | Posted by Paul G. Williams and Kristin A. Shepard | Permalink
Plaintiffs, alleged owners of an interest in coalbed methane gas (“CBM”), brought five related putative class actions against defendants, CBM producers, for alleged failure to pay royalties and for a declaration that owners of gas estates – not owners of coal estates – were the owners of CBM.  The district court granted plaintiffs’ class certification motions, and defendants appealed.  Finding that class certification was “manifestly improper,” the Fourth Circuit granted defendants’ 23(f) petition, vacated the district court’s certification orders, and remanded for further proceedings. read more
August 28, 2014 1:09 PM | Posted by Amy L. Hurwitz and Jaret J. Fuente | Permalink
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied a petition for rehearing by the panel and the Court en banc in the Opalinski v Robert Half International, Inc. matter, where... read more
August 28, 2014 8:45 AM | Posted by Michael Greenfield and Ben Seessel | Permalink
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied plaintiff’s renewed motion to remand, holding that defendants had demonstrated that it was plausible that CAFA’s amount in controversy requirement had been exceeded and plaintiff had failed to make an irrevocable commitment to obtain less than $5,000,000 in damages. The district court initially granted plaintiff’s motion to remand but, as we previously reported, the Seventh Circuit reversed. read more
August 27, 2014 8:36 AM | Posted by Clifton R. Gruhn & Ben V. Seessel | Permalink
In Dunford v. American Databank, LLC, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by including within her criminal background report charges that were more than seven years old.  The plaintiff sought to certify two nationwide classes.  The court found that, among other impediments to certification, the proposed class representative was inadequate because of her prior criminal convictions and her arrest and felony charge during the pendency of the case. read more