Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Jeannie Vanette Hill Thomas appealed the district court's denial of her motion to intervene in Connie Jean Smith's class action against appellees, based on her interest in adequacy of representation by the class representative and class counsel. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court's determination on this question was final, and the district court's rationale for denying the motion was inadequate. Accordingly, the court remanded for further consideration. The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction the portion of Thomas's appeal that was based on her interest in the adequacy of notice and opt-out procedures for the class. View "Smith v. SEECO, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit found no violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 or abuse of the judicial process in this consolidated appeal involving parties in a putative action. The court held that counsel did not violate Rule 41 in stipulating to the dismissal of the action and counsel had at least a colorable legal argument that the district court’s approval was not needed under Rule 23(e) to voluntarily dismiss the claims of the putative class. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion in finding that counsel acted with an improper purpose under Rule 11 and abused the judicial process by stipulating to the dismissal of the federal action for the purpose of seeking a more favorable forum and avoiding an adverse decision. Consequently, the district court also abused its discretion in imposing sanctions upon plaintiffs' counsel for the purported violation. The court reversed the district court's orders and remanded for further proceedings. View "Castleberry v. USAA" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order approving a class action settlement and awarding attorneys' fees. Plaintiffs filed suit against Blue Buffalo, alleging that the pet food company broke its "True Blue Promise" that its products contained no chicken or poultry by-product meals. The court held that, in light of the Van Horn factors, the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate; it was not an abuse of discretion to find that a settlement providing such benefits was fair to all class members, including those who may have had additional state-law claims; and the attorneys' fees and costs were reasonable. View "Keil v. Lopez" on Justia Law