Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff, an Arkansas Circuit Clerk, filed suit against Lenders, alleging that they used the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) to avoid paying recording fees on mortgage assignments and deprived Arkansas counties of revenue. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's exercise of jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The court concluded that the district court properly found that plaintiff alleged a class action under CAFA and that the class for the illegal-exaction claim included all Arkansas taxpayers, and thus, properly exercised jurisdiction under CAFA; the district court did not err in refusing to dismiss or remand the state-law claims after dismissing the illegal-exaction class action claim; the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to abstain under Burford abstention; and the dismissal of the state law claims was appropriate under Rule 12(b)(6). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Brown v. Mortgage Electronic, et al." on Justia Law

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This case arose when groups of plaintiffs filed product liability actions against four manufacturers of transvaginal mesh devices, including Boston Scientific. Three groups filed similar motions proposing that the state court assign each group to a single Judge for purposes of discovery and trial. Two district judges granted plaintiffs' motions and remanded to state court on the ground that no case included more than 100 plaintiffs and plaintiffs had not proposed to the state court that the actions be tried jointly. The court granted Boston Scientific leave to appeal and vacated the order remanding to state court where the three groups of plaintiffs have already proposed to try their cases jointly within the meaning of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11)(B)(i), because plaintiffs' counsel urged the state court to assign the claims of more than 100 plaintiffs to a single judge. View "Atwell, et al. v. Boston Scientific Corp." on Justia Law

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This case concerned the 2011 NFL lockout. Active NFL players filed a class action suit (Brady suit) against the NFL, alleging violations of the federal antitrust laws and other claims. Retired NFL players also filed suit against the NFL and its teams, alleging antitrust violations (Eller I suit). After both actions were consolidated, the Brady suit was settled, the players re-designated the NFLPA as their collective bargaining agent, the NFL and NFLPA signed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) incorporating the settlement terms, the Brady plaintiffs dismissed their action, the lockout ended, and the 2011 NFL season commenced. Carl Eller and other retired NFL players (plaintiffs) then filed this class action (Eller II) against the NFLPA and others. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss and plaintiffs appealed, alleging claims for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage under Minnesota law. The court concluded that no reasonable jury could find that plaintiffs had a reasonable expectation of a prospective separate contractual relation with the NFL that would provide more than the increased benefits provided in the 2011 CBA. Even if plaintiffs alleged a reasonable expectation of prospective contractual relations or economic advantage with the NFL, plaintiffs failed to allege facts proving that defendants improperly or wrongfully interfered with these advantageous prospects. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Eller, et al. v. NFL Players Assoc., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action suit against CMH Homes, Vanderbilt and others in state court. The companies subsequently filed a petition in the district court alleging that plaintiffs' claims were subject to mandatory arbitration. The district court dismissed the petition. The companies argued that the district court erred by concluding that it lacked diversity jurisdiction. The court concluded that the district court correctly reasoned that Vaden undermined Advance America and required the court's departure from that precedent. Following the Vaden approach, the district court properly looked through the arbitration petition to the state court complaint to determine the amount in controversy. Nonetheless, the court remanded for the district court to calculate an amount in controversy and to determine on that basis whether it had jurisdiction over the putative class action under 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2). View "CMH Homes, Inc., et al. v. Goodner, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his employer (Nichols) for breach of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and against his union for breach of its duty of fair representation. Plaintiff alleged that Nichols breached the CBA by failing to establish rest periods for workers on the continuously operating lines as required by Section 17.1 of the CBA. In this case, the union had a duty not to pursue a grievance to arbitration that it believed did not warrant such action. The court concluded that plaintiff had not raised a genuine issue of material fact on whether the union failed in its duty of fair representation on the issue before the court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the union and the employer. View "Inechien v. Nichols Aluminum, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed putative class actions under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), 15 U.S.C. 1693, alleging that Mutual First and First National violated the Act because defendants' ATM machines did not have "on machine" notice of a transaction fee. The district court dismissed for lack of standing. The court concluded, however, that plaintiff's claim of statutory damages was sufficiently related to his injury to confer standing where defendants did not provide him with the required "on machine" notice and then charged him a prohibited fee following an ATM transaction that he initiated and completed. Further, plaintiff's injury was fairly traceable to defendants' conduct where, if defendants had not violated the Act's notice requirement, plaintiff would not have been forced to choose between engaging in a transaction without the required notice and walking away. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Charvat v. Mutual First Fed. Credit Union" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action in Missouri state court against Walgreens seeking damages related to Walgreens' alleged practice of coding its web pages to cause tracking codes or "flash cookies" to be downloaded onto plaintiffs' computers. Walgreens filed its notice of removal nearly one year after plaintiffs initially filed the putative class action. The court declined to adopt Walgreens' reading of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1446(b)(3), holding that discovery responses were not "other paper" under section 1446(b)(3) as a matter of law. Therefore, Walgreens had no statutory basis to remove the case at this juncture. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order remanding the case to state court and declined to reach Walgreens' remaining arguments. View "Dalton, et al. v. Walgreen Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action suit against Auto-Owners, alleging breach of contract and bad faith. On appeal, Auto-Owners challenged the district court's certification of a class for those policy owners whose policies were issued in North Dakota. The court reversed, concluding that the certified class did not meet the predominance requirement of Rule 23 where the reasonableness of any claim payment may have to be individually analyzed and, therefore, the district court abused its discretion in certifying the class. View "Halvorson, et al. v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed three separate class action suits alleging that defendants violated Missouri law and conspired with unknown third parties to deceive customers into throwing away medications after their expiration dates, knowing that the medications were safe and effective beyond the expiration date. Defendants appealed the district court's remand order holding that defendants failed to establish the amount in controversy requirement under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2). The court concluded that each defendant's affidavit detailing the total sales of their respective medications in Missouri met the amount in controversy requirement; even if it was highly improbable that plaintiffs would recover the amounts defendants have put into controversy, this did not meet the legally impossible standard; defendants were not required to provide a formula or methodology for calculating the potential damages more accurately, as the district court held; and defendants' affidavits were not inadmissible hearsay. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and remanded for further proceedings. View "Raskas, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and a group of California residents objected to the district court's approval of settlement terms in class action lawsuits alleging that Uponor and Radiant manufactured and distributed leaky brass plumbing fixtures. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting final approval of the proposed settlement since each of the factors in Van Horn v. Trickey favored approval and in denying plaintiff's motion to intervene as untimely after weighing the ACLU of Minn. v. Tarek ibn Ziyad timeliness factors. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Ortega, et al. v. Uponor, Inc., et al." on Justia Law