Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
State-Boston Retirement System v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc.
The issue before the Eleventh Circuit concerned a private securities fraud class action suit brought against a bank holding company and its management. State-Boston Retirement System, a shareholder and lead plaintiff, sought to prove that the holding company had misrepresented the level of risk associated with commercial real estate loans held by its subsidiary. After the trial, the District Court submitted the case to the jury on a verdict form seeking general verdicts and answers to special interrogatories. When the jury returned a verdict partially in favor of State-Boston, the holding company moved for judgment as a matter of law. Perceiving an inconsistency between two of the jury's interrogatory answers, the District Court discarded one of them and granted the motion on the basis of the remaining findings. The Eleventh Circuit concluded that was error: "[w]hen a court considers a motion for judgment as a matter of law -even after the jury has rendered a verdict- only the sufficiency of the evidence matters. . . .The jury’s findings are irrelevant." Despite the District Court’s error, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of loss causation, an element required to make out a securities fraud claim. The Court therefore affirmed. View "State-Boston Retirement System v. BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc." on Justia Law
Layton v. DHL Express (USA), Inc.
Petitioner Leandre Layton, on behalf of himself and the similarly-situated members of his conditionally-certified class (collectively, "Drivers"), appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of DHL Express, Inc. ("DHL") on his claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). DHL contracted with Sky Land Express, Inc. to manage local parcel deliveries. Petitioner worked on DHL routes for Sky Land. Petitioner filed his collective action for unpaid overtime, naming DHL, Sky Land and Gary Littlefield (owner and president of Sky Land) as his joint employers and defendants to the suit. DHL moved for summary judgment on the ground that it was not the drivers' employer. The district court granted DHL's motion: "DHL did everything it could possibly do to relate to Sky Land only as an "independent contractor[."] The contract with Sky Land allowed DHL to exercise only the minimal supervision necessary to monitor compliance with the contract. The undisputed facts lead to the conclusion that if plaintiffs were employed by anybody, they were employed by Sky Land, the entity that they ostentatiously dismissed as a defendant, for reasons this court can only guess at. DHL was not an employer, much less a joint employer." After a thorough examination of the realities of the economic relationship between Drivers and DHL, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed on the grounds that DHL was not a joint employer of the Drivers. View "Layton v. DHL Express (USA), Inc." on Justia Law
Juris v. Inamed Corp.
This case arose from a 1999 class action suit against the maker of silicone breast implants. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama approved a mandatory, limited fund class settlement which resolved tens of thousands of claims arising from injuries allegedly caused by defective implants manufactured by Inamed Corporation. In 2006, Zuzanna Juris filed an individual suit in California state court naming Inamed and its successor Allergan, alleging injuries caused by her Inamed implants. Defendants contended that Juris' lawsuit was barred by the 1999 class settlement. Juris countered that she could avoid the settlement's res judicata effect on due process grounds. The district court held that the class settlement precluded Juris from prosecuting the California case. Juris appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the method the Alabama court approved for distributing class notice was constitutionally deficient because she did not receive actual, individual notice. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that Juris' assertion that she should have received actual, individual notice rested on a "faulty premise." Even assuming a heightened notice standard applied in this case, the Court concluded that Juris was unable to demonstrate that the notice in the class proceeding was constitutionally deficient. Finding no other error in the district court's holding that the class settlement precluded Juris' California case, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed that court's judgment. View "Juris v. Inamed Corp." on Justia Law
Corey Airport Services, Inc. v. Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc.
This case involved the competitive bidding for an airport advertising concession. After the completion of the bid process, plaintiff - the second-place finisher - brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging a conspiracy to violate plaintiff's equal protection rights during the bid process. The court concluded that plaintiff's conspiracy claim failed against defendants because the underlying proposed equal protection claim failed, lacking the sufficient identifiable group required. Therefore, the court concluded that the facts and inferences in this case pointed overwhelmingly in favor of defendants. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's post-verdict order denying judgment as a matter of law and remanded with instructions to grant judgment as a matter of law to defendants. View "Corey Airport Services, Inc. v. Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc." on Justia Law
Alderwoods Group, Inc., et al. v. Garcia, et al.
This case stemmed from a debt which consisted of claims of tort liability possessed by relatives of people buried in a cemetery called Graceland. Creditors alleged that debtors were liable to them and the members of their class for damages because, due to inadequate record keeping, debtors were unable to locate upon request the grave sites of family members or close relatives buried in Graceland. At issue was whether a bankruptcy court in one federal district had jurisdiction to determine whether a debt was discharged in a bankruptcy case litigated in another federal district. The court held that the court lacked jurisdiction and therefore did not reach the other issues on appeal. View "Alderwoods Group, Inc., et al. v. Garcia, et al." on Justia Law
Virgilio, et al. v. Terrabrook Vista Lakes L.P., et al.
Plaintiffs brought a class action on behalf of themselves and others who purchased houses from a builder, Ryland, in the Newport subdivision of Vista Lakes, a residential development in Orlando, Florida. The Newport subdivision was adjacent to land known as "Pinecastle." Pinecastle was used as a bombing range during World War II and remained laden with, among other things, unexploded bombs. When plaintiffs bought houses from Ryland, they were unaware of Pinecastle. Later, after Pinecastle's existence became public, plaintiffs' houses lost considerable market value and plaintiffs brought this lawsuit to compensate for the loss. Counts 1, 3, and 4 sought compensation for the loss of value plaintiffs' houses sustained due to their close proximity to Pinecastle. Count 2 sought recovery of 1.5 percent of the purchase price of every home Ryland sold in the Newport subdivision. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Counts 1 and 2 with prejudice and Count 3 without prejudice, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on Count 4, pursuant to Rule 56. View "Virgilio, et al. v. Terrabrook Vista Lakes L.P., et al." on Justia Law
Lanfear, et al. v. Home Depot, Inc., et al.
Plaintiffs claimed that the fiduciaries of their retirement plan violated the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., in ways that damaged their efforts to stockpile savings for their winter years. The court held that because plaintiffs have not pleaded facts establishing that defendants abused their discretion by following the Plan's directions, they have not stated a valid claim for breach of the duty of prudence. The court also held that plaintiffs have failed to state a viable breach of loyalty claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' third and last amended complaint. View "Lanfear, et al. v. Home Depot, Inc., et al." on Justia Law
Reese, et al. v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree, & Adams, LLP
Plaintiffs defaulted on a loan that they had secured by giving the lender a mortgage on their property. A law firm representing the lender sent plaintiffs a letter and documents demanding payment of the debt and threatening to foreclose on the property if they did not pay it. Plaintiffs then filed a putative class action lawsuit against the law firm alleging that the communication violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692e. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The court held, however, that the complaint contained enough factual content to allow inference that the law firm was a "debt collector" because it regularly attempted to collect debts. The complaint also alleged that the law firm was "engaged in the business of collecting debts owed to others incurred for personal, family[,] or household purposes" and that in the year before the complaint was filed, the firm had sent more than 500 people "dunning notice[s]" containing "the same or substantially similar language" to that found in the letter and documents attached to the complaint in this case. Further, the complaint alleged enough to constitute regular debt collection within the meaning of 1692a(6). Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Reese, et al. v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree, & Adams, LLP" on Justia Law
Nunez v. GEICO General Ins. Co.
Plaintiff, a class representative, appealed the district court's dismissal of her complaint for failure to state a claim and its order denying her motion for reconsideration. Plaintiff argued that examinations under oath (EUOs) were impermissible conditions precedent to personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under Florida law and the Florida No-Fault automobile insurance statute based on the Florida Supreme Court's decision in Custer Med. Ctr. v. United Auto. Ins. Co. As a result of varying interpretations of Custer in the lower Florida state courts, the court concluded that Florida law was unclear in the context of statutorily mandated insurance and the Florida No-Fault Statute and certified this question to the Florida Supreme Court. View "Nunez v. GEICO General Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Given v. M&T Bank Corp, et al.
Plaintiff filed a putative class action against M&T Bank, alleging that it improperly charged its checking account customers overdraft fees. The district court denied M&T Bank's renewed motion to compel arbitration, finding that plaintiff's claims were not within the scope of the parties' arbitration agreement. The court held that, under the delegation provision, the decision of whether plaintiff's claims were within the scope of the arbitration agreement was a decision for an arbitrator, and the district court erred in making the decision itself. Further, the court believed that it was prudent for the district court to reconsider its unconscionability determination in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Conception, so the court did not reach whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Given v. M&T Bank Corp, et al." on Justia Law