Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries
Flecha v. Medicredit, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a putative class action alleging that Medicredit's collection letter made a false threat of legal action against her, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's class certification order, holding that the putative class failed to satisfy Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23's commonality, typicality, and predominance requirements. In this case, plaintiff failed to carry her burden to affirmatively demonstrate that her claim that Medicredit threatened to take legal action against class members was capable of classwide resolution. Furthermore, the putative class presented substantial questions of Article III standing. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Flecha v. Medicredit, Inc." on Justia Law
Hamama v. Adducci
The federal government entered final removal orders against about 1,000 Iraqi nationals in 2017, and has detained them or will detain them. Most remain in the U.S. due to diplomatic difficulties preventing their return to Iraq. The district court certified three subclasses: (1) primary class members without individual habeas petitions who are or will be detained by ICE, (2) those in the first subclass who are also subject to final removal orders, and (3) those in the first subclass whose motions to reopen their removal proceedings have been granted and who are being held under a statute mandating their detention. The Sixth Circuit previously vacated two preliminary injunctions, citing lack of jurisdiction under 8 U.S.C. 1252(g) and (f)(1). One prevented the removal of certain Iraqi nationals; another required bond hearings for each class member who had been detained for at least six months. A third injunction requires the government to release all primary subclass members, those in the first subclass, once the government has detained them for six months, no matter the statutory authority under which they were held. The district court concluded that the class members showed that the government was unlikely to repatriate them to Iraq in the reasonably foreseeable future and that the government “acted ignobly.” The Sixth Circuit vacated the injunction. Congress stripped all courts, except the Supreme Court, of jurisdiction to enjoin or restrain the operation of 8 U.S.C. 1221–1232 on a class-wide basis. View "Hamama v. Adducci" on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure, Class Action, Immigration Law, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Cacho v. Eurostar, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed suit against their former employer, Eurostar, alleging that the company violated California wage and hour laws by failing to provide employees with required meal and rest breaks and compelling employees to work off the clock at Eurostar's Warehouse Shoe Sale (WSS) retail shoe stores in California. The Court of Appeal held that, in the wake of Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004, if the employer has a break policy that is compliant with the applicable wage order but silent as to certain requirements, the omission of those requirements did not support class certification in the absence of evidence of a uniform unlawful policy or practice. The court also held that where an employer has a uniform written break policy that on its face is unlawful, but in practice the policy has not been applied to company employees, is it not suitable for class certification. The court held that although trial courts must be wary of analyzing evidence of wage and hour violations at the class certification stage in a manner that prejudges the merits, they may properly consider the evidence to determine whether classwide liability can be established through common proof. In this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification because plaintiffs failed to show they could prove Eurostar's liability for meal break, rest break, and off-the-clock violations by common proof at trial. Furthermore, the trial court did not err in considering the evidence submitted by the parties as to Eurostar's policy and practices to assist the court in making the threshold determination whether plaintiffs could prove liability for the alleged violations with common proof. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Cacho v. Eurostar, Inc." on Justia Law
Ferreras v. American Airlines Inc
American’s timekeeping system calculates employee pay only for the duration of their shifts, excluding an automatic 30-minute meal break deduction. If an employee clocks in before the shift begins or clocks out after the shift ends, the system assumes that the employee only worked during the shift, rather than working during those “grace periods.” If employees actually work during grace periods or meal breaks, American requires them to seek approval of an “exception.” A purported class of non-exempt, hourly employees at American’s Newark station asserted violation of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL). American argued that employees arrived early and left late for various reasons and engaged in personal activities before and after their shifts, so the court would have to engage in individualized inquiries to determine when a particular employee was not compensated for periods during which he was actually working while clocked in. The district court certified the class, identifying common questions: whether hourly-paid American employees are not being compensated for all hours worked due to the system and whether American is violating the NJWHL by imposing a schedule-based compensation system that permits a supervisor to authorize compensation for work performed outside of a scheduled shift, but discourages employees from seeking such authorization. The Third Circuit reversed. Several of the requirements of Rule 23, including commonality and predominance, were not met. Determining when each employee was actually working will necessarily require individualized inquiries. View "Ferreras v. American Airlines Inc" on Justia Law
Barnes v. Security Life of Denver
Plaintiff Robert Barnes filed a putative class action against defendant Security Life of Denver Insurance Company (SLD) alleging that SLD, in the course of administering life insurance policies purchased by Barnes and other similarly-situated class members, breached its contractual duties and committed the tort of conversion by imposing certain administrative costs that were not authorized under the terms of the policies. Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson) moved to intervene, asserting that, as a result of reinsurance agreements entered into by SLD, Jackson was actually the entity responsible for administering Barnes’s policy and numerous other policies listed within the putative class. The district court denied Jackson’s motion. After reviewing the parties’ briefs and the record on appeal, the Tenth Circuit concluded Jackson established the requirements for intervention as of right, and accordingly reversed the decision of the district court and remanded with directions to grant Jackson’s motion to intervene. View "Barnes v. Security Life of Denver" on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure, Class Action, Contracts, Insurance Law, US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Palmer, et al. v. Gentek Building Products, Inc.
Gentek Building Products, Inc. appealed after a jury awarded Richard and Angela Palmer damages of $10,791, plus interest. Gentek also appealed an order awarding attorney fees of $80,379 to the Palmers, and taxation of costs and disbursements. In 2003, the Palmers purchased and installed “Driftwood” steel siding from Gentek on their home in Williston. Gentek provided a lifetime limited warranty for the siding. In September 2011, the paint began to peel on the siding installed on the south side of the home. In January 2012, the Palmers submitted a warranty claim to Gentek. Gentek offered the Palmers the option of either a cash settlement or replacement with a substitute siding under the warranty, since Gentek had discontinued producing the type of siding originally installed. While the Palmers opted to have their siding replaced with a substitute, Gentek had difficulty finding a contractor willing to perform the warranty work due to the oil boom in the area. Thousands of others also experienced delaminated pain on their siding and filed warranty claims with Gentek, resulting in a class action lawsuit filed in federal district court in Ohio. The federal district court entered a final order and judgment approving a class action settlement. In 2014, the Palmers filed this suit against Gentek, alleging breach of warranty by failing to replace the defective siding. Gentek defended by arguing the Palmers were bound by the federal court's final class action settlement. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the North Dakota district court did not err in holding the Palmers were not bound by the federal district court’s final order and judgment approving a class action settlement. Furthermore, the Supreme Court concluded that the court erred in its award of attorney fees and in not ruling on Gentek’s objection to costs and disbursements. The order awarding attorney fees and taxation of costs and disbursements was reversed, however, and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Palmer, et al. v. Gentek Building Products, Inc." on Justia Law
Posted in: Civil Procedure, Class Action, Construction Law, North Dakota Supreme Court, Products Liability
Crawford’s Auto Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
Two auto body collision repair shops filed a class action against dozens of insurance defendants, alleging claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law fraud and unjust enrichment theories. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss each of plaintiffs' claims. The court held that plaintiffs failed to allege at least two predicate acts of racketeering activity, fraud or extortion. The court also held that plaintiffs have not sufficiently pleaded their state law fraud and unjust enrichment claims; the district court did not err by excluding exhibits E1-E7; and the district court did not err by dismissing the complaint with prejudice. View "Crawford's Auto Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Weatherly v. Pershing, LLC
Florida law does not recognize putative class actions in Fla. Stat. 95.051's exclusive list of tolling exceptions. In these consolidated cases arising from the Stanford Ponzi scheme, investors alleged that Pershing breached its fiduciary duty and committed indirect fraud under Florida law. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's holding that investors' claims were time-barred. The court held that the Florida Legislature has laid out an exclusive list of tolling exceptions, and class actions are not on the list. Furthermore, the federal policy of tolling for putative class members could not override the governing statute. Therefore, investors' claims were time-barred by Florida's statute of limitations and the court did not reach the merits of those claims. View "Weatherly v. Pershing, LLC" on Justia Law
Parnell v. Fanduel, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's complaint and class action allegations against FanDuel, Inc., holding that Appellant's complaint was devoid of facts upon which he may be entitled to relief. Plaintiff filed this class action lawsuit alleging that FanDuel ran illegal advertising. Plaintiff alleged violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and unjust enrichment on behalf of himself and the putative class. The circuit court dismissed both Plaintiff's complaint and the class allegations, concluding that the complaint failed to allege an actual loss and that the class allegations could no longer be maintained under the amended ADTPA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's action was not cognizable under the ADTPA and that his unjust enrichment claim failed because Plaintiff did not actually allege that FanDuel was unjustly enriched. View "Parnell v. Fanduel, Inc." on Justia Law
Dancel v. Groupon, Inc.
Dancel sued, alleging Groupon had used her photograph to promote a restaurant voucher. Groupon had collected the photograph from Dancel’s public Instagram account based on data linking it to the restaurant’s location. She sought damages under the Illinois Right of Publicity Act (IRPA) on behalf of a class of Illinois residents whose Instagram photographs have appeared on a Groupon offer. The parties litigated in state court until Dancel moved to certify a class of “[a]ll persons who maintained an Instagram Account and whose photograph ... was ... acquired and used on a groupon.com webpage for an Illinois business.” The class was not defined by its members’ residency. Groupon filed a notice of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1453. The district court denied remand and denied class certification. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of class certification. IRPA requires more with respect to the plaintiff’s identity than an Instagram username It demands that an attribute, even a name, serve to identify the individual whose identity is being appropriated. This individualized evidentiary burden prevents identity from being a predominating common question under Rule 23(b)(3). View "Dancel v. Groupon, Inc." on Justia Law