Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries
Russell v. Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates certifies graduates of foreign medical schools who wish to be accepted to a U.S. medical residency program. In 1992, Igberase obtained certification. No residency program accepted him. In 1994, Igberase submitted another application, rearranging his name and using a different date of birth. The Commission learned of the deception and notified the Medical Licensing Examination Committee. Later, Igberase applied for certification under the name “Akoda” and was admitted to a residency program. He was dismissed when the program learned that "Akoda's" social security number belonged to Igberase. Igberase/Akoda argued that it was a case of mistaken identity with his cousin. The Commission did not recommend Akoda’s case to the credentialing committee. Igberase/Akoda was admitted to Howard’s residency program. and received a Maryland medical license. Law enforcement discovered his fraudulent documents. He pleaded guilty to misuse of a social security account number.Patients who received medical treatment from “Akoda” brought a purported class action against the Commission, claiming negligent infliction of emotional distress. The district court certified (FRCP 23(c)(4)) an “issue class” of all patients examined or treated by Igberase beginning with his enrollment at Howard. The Third Circuit vacated. The district court failed to determine whether the issues identified for class treatment fit within one of Rule 23(b)’s categories and failed to explicitly consider some of the “Gates” factors: The effect certification of the issue class will have on the resolution of remaining issues; what efficiencies would be gained by resolution of the certified issues; and whether certain elements of the claim are suitable for issue-class treatment. View "Russell v. Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates" on Justia Law
Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of class certification in an action alleging minimum wage, overtime, and expense reimbursement claims against Grubhub. Plaintiff contends that he was misclassified as an independent contractor rather than an employee when he worked for Grubhub as a food delivery driver.The panel concluded that the district court properly denied certification to plaintiff's proposed class of delivery drivers in California where all members of plaintiff's putative class—except plaintiff and one other—signed agreements waiving their right to participate in a class action. The panel explained that the district court correctly held plaintiff did not satisfy the requirements in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) because he is neither typical of the class nor an adequate representative, and because the proceedings would be unlikely to generate common answers. The panel rejected Grubhub's claim that California Proposition 22 abated the application of the ABC test to plaintiff's pending class claim. In this case, there is no dispute that plaintiff’s minimum wage and overtime claims are rooted in wage orders. The panel concluded that, because the district court rendered its judgment before the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Superior Court, 416 P.3d 1, 33–40 (Cal. 2018), it had no occasion to apply the ABC test to plaintiff's claims. The panel remanded for the district court to apply the ABC test in the first instance to plaintiff's expense reimbursement claim. View "Lawson v. Grubhub, Inc." on Justia Law
Echeverria v. State
The Supreme Court accepted a question certified to it by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada asking to decide whether Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031(1) constitutes a waiver of Nevada's sovereign immunity from damages liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), holding that Nevada has waived the defense of sovereign immunity to liability under the FLSA.Appellant and several other employees of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) filed a putative class and collective action complaint alleging that the State and NDOC violated the FLSA and the state Minimum Wage Amendment (MWA) and breached their contract under state law. The State removed the action to federal district court, where at issue was whether the State possessed sovereign immunity. The district court concluded that the State waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity by removing the case to federal court. The Ninth Circuit affirmed and left open the question of whether the State retained its sovereign immunity from liability. The court then certified the question to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered that, by enacting Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.031(1), Nevada consented to damages liability for a State agency's violation of the minimum wage or overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. View "Echeverria v. State" on Justia Law
Penrod v. K&N Engineering, Inc.
Plaintiffs, three individuals who purchased oil filters designed by K&N, seek to represent a nationwide class of all purchasers of three styles of K&N oil filters that they allege share a common defect, although most proposed class members had oil filters that never exhibited the alleged defect.The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege the amount in controversy exceeded $5 million and therefore lacked jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act. The court concluded that the class members whose oil filters never failed have not sustained injury or damages and cannot assist plaintiffs in meeting the $5 million jurisdictional threshold. Therefore, without these losses to aggregate, plaintiffs do not not plausibly allege an amount in controversy in excess of $5 million. View "Penrod v. K&N Engineering, Inc." on Justia Law
Reddish v. Westamerica Bank
The plaintiffs represent a certified class of current and former employees of Westamerica Bank who allege that Westamerica violated the Labor Code. The parties agreed that the parties would depose 30 class members as part of a pilot study to determine how many additional depositions are needed for a valid random sample of the class generally. Over Westamerica’s objection, the trial court ordered that the parties share the deposition costs equally.The court of appeal dismissed an appeal. The order is not appealable under the collateral order doctrine. To be appealable, a collateral order must finally determine an issue collateral to the litigation and require the payment of money or performance of an act. Here, the matter is not final. Whether Westamerica ultimately pays for these depositions remains an open question. Because Westamerica’s liability for deposition costs has not been finally determined, and any error in the interim order may prove harmless, the issue is not ripe for appellate review. The court summarily rejected Westamerica’s request to treat the appeal as a petition for an extraordinary writ. View "Reddish v. Westamerica Bank" on Justia Law
Arkansas Teacher Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Shareholders of Goldman filed a class action alleging that Goldman and several of its executives committed securities fraud by misrepresenting Goldman's freedom from, or ability to combat, conflicts of interest in its business practices. The district court certified a shareholder class, but the Second Circuit vacated the order in 2018. On remand, the district court certified the class once more. The Second Circuit affirmed and then the Supreme Court vacated and remanded because it was uncertain that the court properly considered the generic nature of Goldman's alleged misrepresentations in reviewing the district court's decision.The Second Circuit vacated the class certification order and remanded for further proceedings because it is unclear whether the district court considered the generic nature of Goldman's alleged misrepresentations in its evaluation of the evidence relevant to price impact and in light of the Supreme Court's clarifications of the legal standard. View "Arkansas Teacher Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc." on Justia Law
Madison v. ADT, LLC
Plaintiffs, representatives of a class of plaintiffs, filed suit against an ADT employee in state court seeking millions in damages after the employee, who installed ADT's home-security surveillance systems, used his access privileges to spy on customers in their homes. ADT, which is being sued directly by other plaintiffs in both Texas and Florida for the breach of privacy, intervened in this suit and removed to the district court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The district court granted plaintiffs' motion to remove to state court under the home state exception to CAFA.The Fifth Circuit granted ADT's motion to appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1453(c) and reversed the district court's remand order. In this case, plaintiffs claim to represent a class of plaintiffs seeking millions in recovery for the invasion of their privacy, although, as of yet, they have asserted claims against only the offending employee (who is imprisoned). The court explained that the thrust of this suit is to gain access to ADT's deep pockets and ADT, having properly intervened, must be considered a primary defendant under CAFA. View "Madison v. ADT, LLC" on Justia Law
Johannessohn v. Polaris Industries Inc.
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Polaris failed to disclose heat defects and that this artificially inflated the price of their all-terrain vehicles. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of class certification, concluding that there was no error in determining that individualized questions predominated, a class action was not a superior method for litigating, and the putative class included members who lacked standing.In this case, plaintiffs' nationwide class action complaint alleges violations of the the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act and thus rebuttal evidence is permitted; Polaris has evidence challenging how much each consumer-plaintiff relied on the alleged omissions; and this will require individualized findings on reliance and is likely to make for multiple mini-trials within the class action. The court also explained that, because the class has not been defined in such a way that anyone within it would have standing, the class cannot be certified. View "Johannessohn v. Polaris Industries Inc." on Justia Law
Canaday v. The Anthem Companies, Inc.
Anthem provides health insurance and hires nurses to review insurance claims. The company pays those nurses a salary but does not pay them overtime. Canaday, an Anthem nurse who lives in Tennessee, filed a proposed collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 206. claiming that the company misclassified her and others as exempt from the Act’s overtime pay provisions. A number of Anthem nurses in other states opted into the collective action.The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the out-of-state plaintiffs on personal jurisdiction grounds. In an FLSA collective action, as in the mass action under California law, each opt-in plaintiff becomes a real party in interest, who must meet her burden for obtaining relief and satisfy the other requirements of party status. Anthem is based in Indiana, not Tennessee. General jurisdiction is not an option for out-of-state claims. Specific jurisdiction requires a connection between the forum and the specific claims at issue. The out-of-state plaintiffs have not brought claims arising out of or relating to Anthem’s conduct in Tennessee. View "Canaday v. The Anthem Companies, Inc." on Justia Law
Allison v. Tinder, Inc.
The dating app Tinder offered reduced pricing for those under 29. Kim, in her thirties, paid more for her monthly subscription than those in their twenties. Kim filed suit, citing California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and its unfair competition statute. The parties reached a settlement, before class certification, that applied to a putative class, including all California-based Tinder users who were at least 29 years old when they subscribed. Tinder agreed to eliminate age-based pricing in California for new subscribers. Class members with Tinder accounts would automatically receive 50 “Super Likes” for which Tinder would ordinarily have charged $50. Class members who submitted a valid claim form would also receive their choice of $25 in cash, 25 Super Likes, or a one-month free subscription.Class members, whose attorneys represent the lead plaintiff in a competing age discrimination class action against Tinder in California state court, objected to the proposed settlement. The district court certified the class, granted final approval of the proposed settlement, and awarded Kim a $5,000 incentive payment and awarded $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees. The Ninth Circuit reversed. While the district court correctly recited the fairness factors under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(e)(2), it materially underrated the strength of the plaintiff’s claims, substantially overstated the settlement’s worth, and failed to take the required hard look at indicia of collusion, including a request for attorneys’ fees that dwarfed the anticipated monetary payout to the class. View "Allison v. Tinder, Inc." on Justia Law