Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
Epps v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Plaintiff appealed the district court's judgment granting Chase's motion to dismiss her putative class action claim brought pursuant to the Maryland Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions (CLEC), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law 12-1001 et seq. The district court concluded that federal regulations preempted relevant portions of the CLEC and that the retail sales installment contract signed by plaintiff and Chase's predecessor in interest did not mandate that Chase comply with the CLEC. The court held that the district court erred in concluding that the CLEC was preempted by the National Bank Act (NBA), 12 U.S.C. 1 et seq., or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regulations. The court also held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's breach of contract claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Epps v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Maracich v. Spear
This appeal arose from the dismissal of all claims alleged in a putative class action complaint filed pursuant to the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725. Appellees (Lawyers) were South Carolina attorneys who in 2006 and 2007 instituted several "group action" lawsuits in South Carolina state court against numerous car dealerships under the South Carolina Regulation of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers Act (Dealers Act), S.C. Code Ann. 56-15-10 et seq. Appellants (Buyers) were car buyers who received mailings from Lawyers regarding the Dealers Act litigation. Buyers sued Lawyers in this action alleging that Lawyers violated the DPPA when they obtained and used Buyers' personal information without their consent in connection with the Dealers Act litigation. The court held that the district court erred in its determination that the conduct of Lawyers did not constitute solicitation within the contemplation of the applicable DPPA prohibition. Nevertheless, the district court correctly ruled that Lawyers' conduct in respect to Buyers' personal information was undertaken in anticipation and in connection with litigation, a use permitted by the DPPA. View "Maracich v. Spear" on Justia Law
Gentry v. Circuit City Stores, Inc.
Named Claimants filed "class proofs of claims" in these consolidated bankruptcy cases in which Circuit City and related entities are the debtors. Named Claimants alleged that they, together with unnamed claimants, were owed almost $150 million in unpaid overtime wages. The court affirmed the decisions of the bankruptcy court with a different procedural approach for allowing claimants to file class proofs of claim and to present Rule 9014 motions. With respect to the bankruptcy court's ruling that in the circumstances of this case, the bankruptcy process would provide a process superior to the class action process for resolving the claims of former employees, the court concluded that the court's ruling fell within its discretion. With respect to these Named Claimants' challenge to notice, the court concluded that the notice to them was not constitutionally deficient - a conclusion with which they agreed - and that, with respect to unnamed claimants, the Named Claimants lacked standing to challenge the notice. View "Gentry v. Circuit City Stores, Inc." on Justia Law
Aziz, et al. v. Alcolac, Inc., et al.
Appellants filed a class action, alleging that defendant, a chemical manufacturer, sold thiodiglycol (TDG) to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime, which then used it to manufacture mustard gas to kill Kurdish enclaves in northern Iraq during the late 1980's. At issue was whether appellants have alleged viable claims under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), 28 U.S.C. 1350, or the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), 28 U.S.C. 1350. The court held that the TVPA excluded corporations from liability. The court also held that the ATS imposed liability for aiding and abetting violations of international law, but only if the attendant conduct was purposeful. Appellants, however, have failed to plead facts sufficient to support the intent element of their ATS claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
Perez, et al. v. Mountaire Farms, Inc., et al.
Plaintiff, an employee of defendant, filed this action on behalf of herself and similarly-situated employees to recover wages and liquidated damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. 201, et. seq., for time spent donning and doffing protective gear during the workday at defendant's poultry processing plants. At issue was whether the district court properly held that the activities identified by the employees were compensable as "work" under the FLSA and that defendant's failure to pay the employees for these activities constituted a violation of the FLSA. The court agreed with the district court in substantial part and held that the time spent donning and doffing protective gear at the beginning and end of each workday was compensable as "work" under the FLSA. The court held, however, that based on the court's decision in Sepulveda v. Allen Family Foods, Inc., decided after the district court entered judgment in the present case, the court was required to hold that the mid-shift donning and doffing of protective gear at the employees' meal break was not compensable. The court additionally affirmed the district court's holding that defendant's violations of the FLSA were not "willful" and, accordingly, a two-year statute of limitations was applicable to the employees' claims for "back pay." Lastly, the court affirmed the district court's holding that defendant acted in good faith and its resulting decision declining to award liquidated damages to the employees.
State of West Virginia ex rel. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
The State sued CVS Pharmacy, Inc. and five other pharmacies (collectively, "pharmacies") in state court alleging that they sold generic drugs to West Virginia consumers without passing along to the consumers the cost savings of generic drugs over brand name equivalents in violation of West Virginia Code 30-5-12b(g), which regulated the practice of pharmacy, and the West Virgina Consumer Credit Protection Act, West Virginia Code 46A-6-104. At issue was whether the district court properly ordered the case to be remanded to state court after the pharmacies removed the case from state court to the district court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2 Stat. 4. The court affirmed and held that the action was not a class action as defined by the CAFA where the action was not brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 or West Virginia's corresponding rule but, rather, the action was brought under the West Virginia statute regulating the practice of pharmacy and the West Virgina Consumer Credit Protection Act, neither of which included provisions providing for a typical class action.
Belue v. Leventhal
Appellants appealed an order revoking their pro hac vice admissions in connection with a putative class action suit where the suit alleged that appellants' clients breached supplemental cancer insurance policies that they had issued. At issue was whether the district court erred in revoking appellants' pro hac vice status where the revocation was based on motions appellants filed in response to plaintiffs' request for class certification, chiefly a motion to recuse the district judge based on his comments during an earlier hearing. The court vacated the revocation order and held that, even though the recusal motion had little merit, the district court erred in revoking appellants' pro hac vice admissions where it did not afford them even rudimentary process.