Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal sua sponte of his class actin complaint brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, based on application of New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) 901(b). CPLR 901(b) prohibits class action suits for statutory damages. The court concluded that, in light of Giovanniello v. ALM Media, LLC, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, not state law, governs when a federal TCPA suit may proceed as a class action. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Bank v. Independence Energy Group LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that defendants had engaged in a conspiracy to fraudulently increase rents payable by tenants in over 400 buildings they owned in New York City, in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, and the New York Consumer Protection Act (NYCPA), N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law 349(a). The parties subsequently agreed to a settlement. At issue on appeal was the fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness of the settlement. The court concluded that the district court's careful review of the settlement warranted the great deference the court normally accords to trial court findings with respect to the fairness of class action settlements. The court also concluded that a fundamental conflict did not exist between the members of the class, and that the Class Counsel's representation was adequate under Rule 12(a)(4). Therefore, it was not necessary to divide the class into subclasses with separate representation. To the extent that plaintiffs argued that the rejection of the settlement by all five remaining named class representatives requires its rejection, the court could not agree. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Charron v. Wiener" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, New York Life, both individually and on behalf of a putative class of insurance agents. Plaintiff alleged state law claims seeking unpaid overtime wages and recovery of improper deductions, as well as statutory liquidated damages under New York Labor Law. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of his complaint based on the "home state exception" to federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The court held that the home state exception was not jurisdictional and must be - and in this case was - raised within a reasonable time. Further, the 2011 amendment to New York Labor Law was not retroactive and the district court's grant of partial summary judgment with respect to plaintiff's overtime claim was correct. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Gold v. New York Life Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs alleged that USF engaged in a fraudulent scheme by which it artificially inflated the cost component of its cost-plus billing and then disguised the proceeds of its own inflated billing through the use of purported promotional allowances. At issue on interlocutory appeal was whether the district court abused its discretion in certifying a nationwide class consisting of about 75,000 USF "cost-plus" customers. The court affirmed the district court's certification of the class, concluding that, despite the size of the class and the fact that it implicated the laws of multiple jurisdictions, the district court correctly concluded that both the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-68, and contract claims were susceptible to generalized proof such that common issues would predominate over individual issues and a class action was superior to other methods of adjudication. View "In Re: US Foodservice Inc. Pricing Litig." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed putative class-action suits over ten years ago under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350, on behalf of those harmed by the South African legal regime known as "apartheid." Plaintiffs asserted that defendants aided and abetted violations of customary international law committed by the South African government by selling cars and computers to the South African government. Defendants petitioned for mandamus relief. The court concluded that, in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., issuance of the writ was unnecessary in this case because defendants have an adequate means of relief through a motion for judgment on the pleadings; plaintiffs' arguments that Kiobel did not apply where defendants were American citizens, or where the case involved American interests, were without merit; and, because the Kiobel decision plainly foreclosed plaintiffs' claims as a matter of law, the court need not consider whether defendants have asserted a valid basis for "collateral order" jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1291. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for mandamus relief and vacated the stay placed by the court on proceedings in the district court. View "Balintulo v. Daimler AG" on Justia Law

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E&Y appealed from the district court's order denying its motion to dismiss or stay proceedings, and to compel arbitration, in a putative class action brought by its former employees. At issue on appeal was whether an employee could invalidate a class-action waive provision in an arbitration agreement when that waiver removed the financial incentive for her to pursue a claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq. The court held that the FLSA did not include a "contrary congressional command" that prevented a class-action waiver provision in an arbitration agreement from being enforced by its terms. The court also held that, in light of the supervening decision of the Supreme Court in American Express Co v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the employee's argument that proceeding individually in arbitration would be "prohibitively expensive" was not a sufficient basis to invalidate the action waiver provision at issue here under the "effective vindication doctrine." Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Sutherland v. Ernst & Young LLP" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action seeking to hold ProShares liable for material omissions and misrepresentations in the prospectuses for certain exchange-traded funds (ETFs) under the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77k and 77o. Plaintiffs alleged that registration of statements omitted the risk that the ETFs, when held for a period of greater than one day, could lose substantial value in a relatively brief period of time, particularly in periods of high volatility. The district court concluded that the disclosures at issue accurately conveyed the specific risk that plaintiffs asserted materialized. The court agreed with the district court's conclusion that the relevant prospectuses adequately warned the reasonable investor of the allegedly omitted risks. View "In Re: ProShares Trust Sec. Litig." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, an association of authors and several individual authors, filed suit against Google alleging that it committed copyright infringement through the Library Project of its "Google Books" search tool by scanning and indexing more than 20 million books and making available for public display "snippets" of most books upon a user's search. On appeal, Google challenged the district court's grant of class certification. The court believed that the resolution of Google's fair use defense in the first instance would necessarily inform and perhaps moot the court's analysis of many class certification issues and that holding the issue of certification in abeyance until Google's fair use defense has been resolved would not prejudice the interests of either party. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for the district court to consider the fair use issues. View "The Authors Guild Inc., et al. v. Google, Inc." on Justia Law

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Intervenors appealed the district court's denial of their motion to intervene in a suit where the lead plaintiff and other putative class members alleged that defendants had made fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions in the offering and sale of certain financial instruments which they purchased. The court held that: (1) American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah's tolling rule did not apply to the three-year statute of repose in Section 13 of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77m; and (2) absent circumstances that would render the newly asserted claims independently timely, neither Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 nor the Rule 15(c) "relation back" doctrine permitted members of a putative class, who were not named parties, to intervene in the class action as named parties in order to revive claims that were dismissed from the class complaint for want of jurisdiction. The proposed intervenors could not circumvent Section 13's statute of repose by invoking American Pipe or Rule 15(c). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment insofar as the district court partially denied the motions to intervene. View "In re IndyMac Mortgage-Backed Sec. Litig." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's dismissal of their Second Amended Class Action Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs challenged the veracity of certain advertisements in which Time Warner allegedly described its Road Runner Internet service. Plaintiffs asserted that Time Warner's allegedly deceptive advertisements violated New York General Business Law 349 and various California consumer protection statutes, and gave rise to claims for common law fraud, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment. The court concluded that the allegations of the Complaint were materially inconsistent with the sole advertisement plaintiffs have submitted. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs' claims lacked the facial plausibility necessary to survive a motion to dismiss. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Fink v. Time Warner Cable" on Justia Law