Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action alleging claims for unfair and/or deceptive business practices under Business and Professions Code section 17200 (UCL) and violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). The trial court denied class certification. Plaintiff sought declarations that Dignity Health's billing practices as they relate to uninsured individuals who received emergency care at a Dignity Health hospital in California are "unfair, unconscionable and/or unreasonable" and that, because the prices to be charged are not adequately disclosed or readily available to those individuals, its admissions contract contains an "open price" term within the meaning of Civil Code section 1611. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court used an unduly restrictive standard to evaluate the proposed class's ascertainability; the trial court misperceived plaintiff's primary theory of liability in evaluating whether common issues of law or fact predominate; and, although substantial evidence supported the trial court's finding that the class definition in the certification motion may not be manageable, a more limited class should be certified in this case. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with directions to certify a modified issue class. View "Sarun v. Dignity Health" on Justia Law

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Williams stopped working for Impax in 2013. Four years later, she filed a class action complaint under the unfair competition law, identifying unlawful business practices in which Impax allegedly engaged, including failing to pay overtime wages, provide meal and rest periods, and pay minimum wages. Williams proposed a class of all individuals employed by Impax during the previous four years. The court struck the class allegations; because Williams could not pursue all remedies otherwise available to the putative class, due to the statute of limitations, Williams cannot be a suitable class representative. The court gave her 45 days to amend, suggesting the addition of another class representative. The court denied Williams’s request to conduct discovery to locate other class representatives. Williams neither sought review nor amended her complaint to name a new plaintiff. Her first amended complaint essentially re-alleged the class contentions from her original complaint, Williams asserted that the order was “impossible” to comply with. The court struck the class allegations and directed Williams to file a second amended complaint. The court of appeal dismissed; the order is not appealable under the death knell doctrine, which authorizes an interlocutory appeal of the first, but only the first, order in a case that extinguishes all of a plaintiff’s class claims. The court declined to address her argument that the court thwarted her from pursuing discovery of the class list, which she needed to name another class representative. View "Williams v. Impax Laboratories, Inc.," on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition requested by Petitioner, Municipal Water Works, to challenge a circuit court order granting Respondents' motion for class certification, holding that the order granting class certification must be vacated because the circuit court failed to conduct a thorough analysis of the four class certification prerequisites in Rule 23(a) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure. Respondents, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals, filed a complaint against Municipal Water alleging that each putative class members was a customer of Municipal Water and, as a result, was exposed to illness causing pollutants in their water supply. Respondents filed a motion for class certification, which the circuit court granted. Petitioner then sought a writ of prohibition arguing that the circuit court's order did not contain a "thorough analysis" explaining how Respondents satisfied the four prerequisites contained in Rule 23(a). The Supreme Court agreed and granted the writ, holding that the circuit court's order did not contain a thorough analysis of the Rule 23(a) factors. View "State ex rel., Municipal Water Works v. Honorable Derek Swope" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order certifying a nationwide class of plaintiffs in a case involving allegedly deceptive advertising practices. The action arose out of allegedly deceptive advertising associated with RIDGID brand vacuums. The district concluded that all class members' claims would be governed by Missouri law and thus determined class resolution was appropriate. The court held that the claims of non-Missouri residents did not relate to “trade or commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri” and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act could not be applied to them. The court also held that the district court should have conducted separate choice of law analyses for the breach of warranty and unjust enrichment claims. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hale v. Emerson Electric Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the circuit court denying motions to compel arbitration of a class-action complaint filed by Appellees, holding that Appellants failed to meet their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement with respect to certain agreements but that Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements. Appellees filed a class-action complaint against Appellants, a nursing home and related entities, alleging that Appellants had breached their admission and provider agreements, violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, committed negligence and civil conspiracy, and had been unjustly enriched. Appellants' filed four motions to compel arbitration with respect to ten class members/residents. The circuit court denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) certain arbitration agreements contained deficiencies that prevented Appellants from meeting their burden of proving a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement; and (2) Appellants met their burden to prove the validity of the remainder of the arbitration agreements not already discussed. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing Appellant's illegal-exaction complaint against the City of Blytheville, Arkansas, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint. The City passed an ordinance calling for a special election to be held on a one-cent sales and use tax to be collected for fifteen months. The proposed tax was approved at the special election. Appellant later filed a class action complaint alleging that the excess revenue was an illegal exaction because the tax was approved in order to pay the City's debt to the federal government. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that, based on the wording of the ballot title, the City's use of the excess funds to pay payroll taxes was authorized and there was no illegal exaction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly utilized the enabling ordinance and ballot title in determining the approved uses for the excess funds. View "Carlock v. City of Blytheville" on Justia Law

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In this class action, the Supreme Court affirmed the class certification order and the supplemental order of the circuit court, holding that the certified class satisfied the requirements of commonality, predominance, typicality, superiority, and ascertainability. The circuit court's order certified the class as individuals who attended C-1 Truck Driving School in North Little Rock through Driver Solutions' "company-paid training" during a certain time period and did not complete one year of employment with the carrier. The circuit court then entered a supplemental order explaining the phrase "company-paid training." The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in determining that each requirement for class certification was satisfied in this case. View "Driver Solutions, LLC v. Downey" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the order of the Appellate Division modifying Supreme Court's dismissal of Plaintiffs' amended class action complaint by denying the part of the motion seeking dismissal of the class action claims against Defendants except to the extent those allegations addressed the cause of action for violation of N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 349, holding that the claims for class relief should not have been dismissed without a judicial determination as to whether the prerequisites of N.Y. C.P.L.R. 902 had been satisfied. Plaintiffs, current and former tenants in buildings within multiple apartment buildings, alleged that individual corporate defendants that owned various buildings at issue were owned or controlled by a single holding company and that Defendants, in an effort to extract additional value from the properties, engaged in improper and illegal conduct" by, among other things, inflating rents above the amounts Defendant were legally permitted to charge. Before an answer was filed, Supreme Court dismissed the complaint, concluding that there was no basis for class relief. The Appellate Division modified Supreme Court's order, concluding that dismissal at this stage was premature. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that dismissal of class claims based on allegations of a methodical attempt to illegally inflate rents was premature. View "Maddicks v Big City Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition sought by Municipal Water Works to challenge an order issued by the circuit court granting Plaintiffs' motion for class certification, holding that the circuit court failed to conduct a thorough analysis of the class prerequisites in W. VA. R. Civ. P. 23(a), and therefore, the order granting class certification must be vacated. Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of a class of individuals that were customers of Municipal Water, filed a complaint in the circuit court alleging that each putative class member was exposed to illness-causing pollutants in their water supply. After a hearing, the circuit court entered an order granting class certification. The Supreme Court vacated the order, holding that the circuit court's order did not contain a thorough analysis of the Rule 23(a) factors. View "State ex rel. Municipal Water Works v. Honorable Derek C. Swope" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and a proposed class of similarly situated county utility ratepayers, filed suit against the city and the Department of Water and Power (DWP), alleging that DWP overcharged ratepayers for electric utility usage. After a class was certified for a proposed settlement, an unnamed class member timely objected and filed an application to intervene. The trial court denied the application, overruled the unnamed class member's objection, approved the settlement, and entered a judgment under the settlement terms. The Court of Appeal dismissed the unnamed class member's appeal, holding that she was not a party of record and has not utilized the procedures available to alter her status. Therefore, she lacked standing to appeal from the judgment. View "Eck v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law