Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

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Serena Kwan appealed the dismissal of her second amended complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In 2014, Kwan, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated, filed a class action against Defendants-Appellees, SanMedica International, LLC (“SanMedica”), and Sierra Research Group, LLC (“Sierra”), alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”). The complaint was based on an allegation that the defendants falsely represented that their product, SeroVital, provided a 682% mean increase in Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) levels, that it was clinically tested, and that “peak growth hormone levels” were associated with “youthful skin integrity, lean musculature, elevated energy production, [and] adipose tissue distribution." The Ninth Circuit concluded the district court correctly concluded that California law did not provide for a private cause of action to enforce the substantiation requirements of California’s unfair competition and consumer protection laws. Further, the district court did not err in concluding that Kwan’s second amended complaint failed to allege facts that would support a finding that SanMedica International’s claims regarding its product, SeroVital, were actually false. Accordingly, the Court affirmed dismissal. View "Kwan v. Sanmedica Int'l" on Justia Law

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Cordis invoked the Class Action Fairness Act's (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11)(B)(i), provision as the basis for removing to federal court eight products liability suits filed against it in California state court. Although the parties mostly agree that the jurisdictional requirements for removal under CAFA's mass action provision are met, they dispute whether plaintiffs' claims have been "proposed to be tried jointly." The district court held that plaintiffs' consolidation motion did not propose a joint trial of their claims, and remanded to state court. The court granted Cordis' petition for permission to appeal that ruling under 28 U.S.C. 1453(c). The court concluded that plaintiffs' request for consolidation for the purposes of pretrial proceedings, standing alone, does not trigger removal jurisdiction under CAFA's mass action provision. The court further explained that plaintiffs also requested consolidation for purposes of establishing a bellwether-trial process, but nothing they said indicated that they were referring to a bellwether trial whose results would have preclusive effect on the plaintiffs in the other cases. Therefore, the district court correctly held that removal jurisdiction does not exist under CAFA's mass action provision, and it properly remanded the cases to state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Dunson v. Cordis Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants in state court on behalf of a class comprising of all persons who were Arkansas Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries who were treated at one of the defendant hospitals and who had similar liens placed on their third-party claims by RevClaims. Defendants removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). After plaintiff filed an amended complaint defining the proposed class as all Arkansas citizens who were Arkansas Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries, the case was remanded to state court. The court concluded that section 1332(a)'s citizenship/residency distinction applies in section 1332(d)(4). "Citizen" means the same in both subsections—and that meaning is not synonymous with "resident." Therefore, the court concluded that the district court erred in holding that merely alleging a proposed class of Arkansas residents was sufficient to satisfy section 1334(d)(4). In this case, plaintiff could have met her burden by producing evidence or by defining her class to include only Arkansas citizens, merely alleging residency was not enough. The court noted that the district court cited no authority for ordering plaintiff to restrict her class definition through an amended complaint before remand. Finally, the court explained that nothing the court said about residency and citizenship means that the district court lacked jurisdiction. The court reversed the remand order and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hargett v. RevClaims, LLC" on Justia Law

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Respondent filed a putative class action alleging that Petitioner had failed to pay him and other similarly situated employees their final wages within the time period mandated by the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act. Respondent served requests upon Petitioners seeking class discovery. Petitioner filed a motion to stay class discovery, arguing that the class discovery was overly broad, unduly burdensome, and premature. The circuit court denied the request to stay class discovery, finding that Petitioner had waived its objections to class discovery, as they were untimely raised, and had further failed to meet its burden of demonstrating why such discovery should not proceed. Petitioner appealed the circuit court’s interlocutory order and invited the Supreme Court to extend the collateral order doctrine to interlocutory discovery orders that implicate case management. The Court, however, chose to consider this matter as a petition for a writ of prohibition, granted the writ, and vacated the order denying Petitioner’s motion to stay class discovery, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion in refusing to stay class discovery pending a ruling on the threshold legal issue of statutory construction that bears on the viability of Respondent’s individual claim. Remanded. View "GMS Mine Repair & Maintenance, Inc. v. Milkos" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and two other named plaintiffs filed a putative class action suit against defendants in a Massachusetts state court. Defendants successfully sought removal of the suit to a federal district court. The district court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to most, but not all, of Plaintiff’s claims. At Plaintiffs’ urging, the court remanded the case to state court. Plaintiff filed a notice appealing the remand order, followed by a brief devoted to challenging the interlocutory order that dismissed most of his claims. The First Circuit dismissed the appeal, holding that Plaintiff waived his right to appeal because, if the order of remand was a final judgment, it was a final judgment to which Plaintiff affirmatively acquiesced without clearly reserving the right to appeal any ruling that may have merged into that judgment. View "Doran v. J. P. Noonan Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law

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While implementing changes required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Michigan experienced a systemic computer problem that erroneously assigned thousands of non-citizens, who may have been eligible for comprehensive Medicaid coverage, to Emergency Services Only (ESO) Medicaid. Plaintiffs, two eligible noncitizen residents of Michigan who were erroneously assigned ESO coverage, filed a class action complaint against the Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, alleging violations of the Medicaid statute and the Due Process Clause. The district court found that actions taken by the state since the complaint was filed had resolved all systemic errors, so that plaintiffs’ claims were moot. The Sixth Circuit reversed the summary judgment, noting that not one of the individuals identified as a named plaintiff or potential named plaintiff was granted relief on the basis of a systemic fix and that that it is not “absolutely clear the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.” Material questions of fact remain regarding claims that the state failed to provide comprehensive Medicaid coverage and a reasonable opportunity to verify immigration status, precluding summary judgment. View "Unan v. Lyon" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a class of landowners subject to Sho-Me's easements, filed suit against Sho-Me and Tech for trespass and unjust enrichment after the companies used fiber-optic cable for commercial telecommunications. The district court certified the class and granted it summary judgment on liability. A jury trial was held on the issue of damages and the jury awarded plaintiffs over $79 million. The court concluded that Sho-Me and Tech's use exceeded the scope of the easements. The court explained that, under Missouri law, the companies exceeded their rights by using the fiber-optic cable for unauthorized purposes and thus their use became a trespass. The court also concluded that plaintiffs failed to identify any Missouri cases recognizing unjust enrichment as a remedy for unauthorized land use. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the unjust enrichment claim. The court noted that, on remand, plaintiffs may choose to pursue damages on their trespass claim. Finally, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying the class. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Biffle v. Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative" on Justia Law

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In New Jersey, GTL is the sole provider of telecommunications services that enable inmates to call approved persons outside the prisons. Users can open an account through GTL’s website or through an automated telephone service with an interactive voice-response system. Website users see GTL’s terms of use and must click “Accept” to complete the process. Telephone users receive an audio notice: Please note that your account, and any transactions you complete . . . are governed by the terms of use and the privacy statement posted at www.offenderconnect.com.” Telephone users are not required to indicate their assent to those terms, which contain an arbitration agreement and a class-action waiver. Users have 30 days to opt out of those provisions. The terms state that using the telephone service or clicking “Accept” constitutes acceptance of the terms; users have 30 days to cancel their accounts if they do not agree to the terms. Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that GTL’s charges were unconscionable and violated the state Consumer Fraud Act, the Federal Communications Act, and the Takings Clause. GTL argued that the FCC had primary jurisdiction. Plaintiffs withdrew their FCA claims. GTL moved to compel arbitration. The district court denied GTL’s motion with respect to plaintiffs who opened accounts by telephone, finding “neither the knowledge nor intent necessary to provide ‘unqualified acceptance.’” The Third Circuit affirmed. The telephone plaintiffs did not agree to arbitration. View "James v. Global TelLink Corp." on Justia Law

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A packaging error reversed the sequence of Qualitest birth control pills contained within each package, resulting in a less effective dosage. Qualitest executed nationwide recalls reaching 3.2 million packs of pills. Plaintiffs, alleging that they were harmed, filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, alleging that similarly-situated plaintiffs are residents of 28 different states “whose claims arise out of a common set of operative facts . . . and which claims have been filed together . . . for purposes of case management on a mass tort basis.” The defendants removed the action to federal court as a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11). The district court remanded, concluding that CAFA precluded federal jurisdiction because plaintiffs did not propose to try their claims jointly. Cases that are consolidated or coordinated only for pretrial purposes are explicitly exempted from CAFA’s mass action provision. The Third Circuit reversed, finding federal jurisdiction proper under CAFA. The language plaintiffs held out as disclaiming their intent to seek a joint trial was not sufficiently definite to prevent removal. Where more than 100 plaintiffs file a single complaint containing claims involving common questions of law and fact, a proposal for a joint trial will be presumed unless an explicit, unambiguous disclaimer is included. View "Ramirez v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC" on Justia Law

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Three health care workers sued their hospital employer in a putative class and private attorney general enforcement action for alleged Labor Code violations and related claims. In this appeal, their primary complaint was the hospital illegally allowed its health care employees to waive their second meal periods on shifts longer than 12 hours. A statute required two meal periods for shifts longer than 12 hours. But an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) authorized employees in the health care industry to waive one of those two required meal periods on shifts longer than 8 hours. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal’s review centered on the validity of the IWC order. In its first opinion in this case, the Court concluded the IWC order was partially invalid to the extent it authorized second meal break waivers on shifts over 12 hours, and the Court reversed. After the California Supreme Court granted the hospital’s petition for review in “Gerard I,” that court transferred the case back to the Court of Appeal with directions to vacate the decision and to reconsider the cause in light of the enactment of Statutes 2015, chapter 506 (Sen. Bill No. 327 (2015-2016 Reg. Sess.); SB 327). Upon reconsideration the Court of Appeal concluded the IWC order was valid and affirmed. View "Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center" on Justia Law