Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
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In January 2021, many customers of the online financial services company Robinhood were aggressively buying specific stocks known as “meme stocks” in a frenzy that generated widespread attention. Robinhood suddenly restricted its customers’ ability to buy these meme stocks (but not their ability to sell them). Some Robinhood customers who could not buy the restricted stocks brought this putative class action, seeking to represent both Robinhood customers and all other holders of the restricted meme stocks nationwide who sold the stocks during a certain period. As Robinhood customers, they allege that they lost money because Robinhood stopped them from acquiring an asset that would have continued to increase in value.   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claims. The court explained that Plaintiffs failed to state a claim. The court explained that its contract with Robinhood gives the company the specific right to restrict its customers’ ability to trade securities and to refuse to accept any of their transactions. Thus, the court wrote that because Robinhood had the right to do exactly what it did, Plaintiffs’ claims in agency and contract cannot stand. And under basic principles of tort law, Robinhood had no tort duty to avoid causing purely economic loss. View "Andrea Juncadella, et al v. Robinhood Financial LLC, et al" on Justia Law

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In August 2019, Plaintiff filed a class action against GoDaddy. The putative class alleged that the web-hosting company embarked on an unlawful telemarketing campaign. Objector-Appellant then filed an objection and moved to reconsider the fee award. He made two arguments. First, he objected that the district court awarded fees to class counsel twenty days before the court’s purported objection deadline. Second, he claimed that the parties’ settlement was a “coupon settlement” under 28 U.S.C. Section 1712(e) of the Class Action Fairness Act because GoDaddy class members could select GoDaddy vouchers as their recompense. The question at the core of this appeal is whether the plaintiffs who received a single unwanted, illegal telemarketing text message suffered a concrete injury.   The Eleventh Circuit remanded this appeal to the panel to consider the CAFA issues raised in Appellant’s appeal. The court held that the receipt of an unwanted text message causes a concrete injury. The court explained that while an unwanted text message is insufficiently offensive to satisfy the common law’s elements, Congress has used its lawmaking powers to recognize a lower quantum of injury necessary to bring a claim under the TCPA. As a result, the plaintiffs’ harm “is smaller in degree rather than entirely absent.” View "Susan Drazen, et al v. Mr. Juan Pinto" on Justia Law

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Brinker International, Inc. (“Brinker”), the owner of Chili’s restaurants, faced a cyber-attack in which customers’ credit and debit cards were compromised. Chili’s customers have brought a class action because their information was accessed (and in some cases used) and disseminated by cyber criminals. The district court certified the class, and Brinker appealed that decision. On appeal, Brinker mounted three arguments: 1) the District Court’s class certification order violates our precedent on Article III standing for class actions; 2) the district court improvidently granted certification because the class will eventually require individualized mini-trials on class members’ injuries; and 3) the district court erred by finding that a common damages methodology existed for the class.   The Eleventh Circuit vacated in part and remanded. The court explained that although all three plaintiffs adequately allege a concrete injury sufficient for Article III standing, two of the plaintiffs' allegations face a fatal causation issue. The court explained that while the district court’s interpretation of the class definitions surely meets the standing analysis, the court has outlined for one of the named plaintiffs, the court noted that the phrase in the class definitions “accessed by cybercriminals” is broader than the two delineated categories the district court gave, which were limited to cases of fraudulent charges or posting of credit card information on the dark web. Therefore, the court remanded this case to give the district court the opportunity to clarify its predominance finding. View "Eric Steinmetz, et al v. Brinker International, Inc." on Justia Law

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MiMedx is a Florida corporation headquartered in Marietta, Georgia. Carpenters Pension Fund of Illinois is the lead plaintiff in this consolidated securities class action. Carpenters purchased 41,080 shares of MiMedx common stock in three separate transactions between August 2017 and October 2017 and later sold those shares in December 2017. The district court dismissed Carpenters’s action, finding that none of the complaint’s allegations occurring before the date Carpenters sold its MiMedx stock constituted a partial corrective disclosure sufficient to demonstrate loss causation. Carpenters contend that the district court erred in its loss causation analysis. Carpenters further argued that the district court erred in denying its post-judgment motion for relief from judgment, as well as its post-judgment request for leave to amend its complaint.   The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the district court erred in finding that Carpenters lacked standing to bring its Exchange Act claims against Defendants and vacated that portion of the district court’s order. The court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing Carpenters’ second amended complaint for failure to plead loss causation. The court explained that as to Rule 59(e), the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Carpenters sought to relitigate arguments it had already raised before the entry of judgment. As to Rule 60(b)(1) the court found no mistake in the district court’s application of the law in this case that would change the outcome of this case. And, as to Rule 60(b)(6), the district court found that Carpenters’ motion primarily focused on the court’s purported “mistakes in the application of the law,” which fall squarely under Rule 60(b)(1). View "Carpenters Pension Fund of Illinois v. MiMedx Group, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

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Ford Motor Company advertised its Shelby GT350 Mustang as “track ready.” But some Shelby models weren’t equipped for long track runs, and when the cars overheated, they would rapidly decelerate. A group of Shelby owners sued Ford on various state-law fraud theories and sought class certification, which the district court granted in substantial part. Ford challenged class certification on the ground that proving each plaintiff’s reliance on the alleged misinformation requires individualized proof and, therefore, that common questions don’t “predominate” within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3).   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s certification of the statutory classes in Florida, New York, Missouri, and Washington. The court reversed the certification of the Texas statutory consumer-fraud claim and the Tennessee, New York, and Washington common-law fraud claims. And the court remanded for the district court to consider whether the facts, in this case, support a presumption of reliance for the California statutory and common-law fraud claims and whether California- and Texas-based breach-of-implied-warranty claims satisfy state-law requirements. Finally, the court instructed the district court on remand to reconsider the manageability issue. View "George Tershakovec, et al v. Ford Motor Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued his former employer for allegedly underpaying him for overtime hours. Plaintiff worked in Florida, but he sued Waste Pro USA, Inc., and its subsidiary, Waste Pro of Florida, Inc., as one of several named plaintiffs in a purported collective action in the District of South Carolina. That court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against Waste Pro USA and Waste Pro of Florida for lack of personal jurisdiction, and it denied as moot his motion to sever his claims and transfer them to a district court in Florida. Instead of appealing or seeking other relief in the South Carolina court, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Southern District of Florida, alleging the same claims. The Florida district court granted summary judgment in favor of Waste Pro USA and Waste Pro of Florida because it determined that Plaintiff’s complaint was untimely.   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The court explained that Plaintiff had “alternate ways of preserving his cause of action short of invoking the doctrine of equitable tolling.” He could have filed a motion for reconsideration of or for relief from the dismissal order and argued that transfer was in the interest of justice. He also could have appealed the dismissal. “The right to appeal generally is regarded as an adequate legal remedy [that] forecloses equitable relief.” The court wrote that a diligent plaintiff would have filed a protective action or pursued a legal remedy in the South Carolina proceeding. Further, to the extent Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if equitable tolling does not apply in this case, that is the consequence of his own failure to pursue his remedies at law. Equity will not intervene in such circumstances. View "Anthony Wright v. Waste Pro USA Inc, et al." on Justia Law

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At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) stopped providing “Rapid Delivery”1 to Amazon Prime (“Prime”) subscribers. Because Prime subscribers were not notified of the suspension and continued to pay full price for their memberships, Plaintiff and others brought a putative class action against Amazon alleging breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act (“WCPA”), and unjust enrichment. The district court granted Amazon’s motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim with prejudice because it found that Amazon did not have a duty to provide unqualified Rapid Delivery to Prime subscribers.   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The court first wrote that it is allowed to use its “experience and common sense” to acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic even though it was not included as a factual allegation in the First Amended Complaint. The court dispensed with this argument because Amazon’s prioritization of essential goods during the COVID-19 pandemic obviously did not harm the public interest. Further, the court explained that Plaintiffs specifically incorporated the terms of their contract with Amazon as part of their unjust enrichment count. So, while Plaintiffs may plead breach of contract and unjust enrichment in the alternative, they have not done so. Instead, Plaintiffs pleaded a contractual relationship as part of their unjust enrichment claim, and that contractual relationship defeats their unjust enrichment claim under Washington law. View "Andrez Marquez, et al v. Amazon.com, Inc." on Justia Law

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Greater Birmingham Ministries (“GBM”), an Alabamian non-profit organization dedicated to aiding low-income individuals, and several Alabamian felons (collectively “Appellants”) appealed the district court’s summary judgment denying their Equal Protection Clause challenge to Amendment 579 of the Alabama state constitution, their Ex Post Facto Clause, challenge to Amendment 579’s disenfranchisement provisions, and their National Voting Registration Act of 1993 (“NVRA”), challenge to the format of Alabama’s mail voting registration form.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The court held that (1) Amendment 579 successfully dissipated any taint from the racially discriminatory motives behind the 1901 Alabama constitution; (2) Amendment 579 does not impose punishment for purposes of the Ex Post Facto Clause; and (3) Alabama’s mail voting registration form complies with the NVRA. The court wrote that it rejects Appellants’ invitation to review the extent the Alabama legislature debated the “moral turpitude” language of Amendment 579. Further, the court explained that Section 20508(b)(2)(A) is a notice statute enacted for the convenience of voting registrants. Alabama’s mail-in voting form has provided sufficient notice by informing registrants that persons convicted of disqualifying felonies are not eligible to vote and providing an easily accessible link whereby voters convicted of felonies can determine their voter eligibility. Accordingly, Alabama has complied with the requirements of Section 20508(b)(2)(A). View "Treva Thompson, et al. v. Secretary of State for the State of Alabama, et al." on Justia Law

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This is an appeal from a district court order approving a class-action settlement that purports to provide injunctive relief and up to $8 million in monetary relief to a class of individuals (the “Class”) who purchased one or more “brain performance supplements” manufactured and sold by Defendants Reckitt Benckiser LLC and RB Health (US) LLC (together, “RB”) under the brand name “Neuriva.” Five Plaintiffs (together, the “Named Plaintiffs”) who had previously purchased Neuriva brought a putative class action, alleging that RB used false and misleading statements to give consumers the impression that Neuriva and its “active ingredients” had been clinically tested and proven to improve brain function. The parties promptly agreed to a global settlement (the “Settlement” or “Settlement Agreement”) that sought to resolve the claims of all Plaintiffs and absent Class members. The current appeal involves one unnamed Class member, an attorney and frequent class-action objector, who objected in district court and subsequently appealed the district court’s approval order.   The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court’s order and remanded. The court concluded that the Named Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their claims for injunctive relief. The court explained that Plaintiffs seeking injunctive relief must establish that they are likely to suffer an injury that is “actual or imminent,” not “conjectural or hypothetical.” But none of the Named Plaintiffs allege that they plan to purchase any of the Neuriva Products again. The district court, therefore, lacked jurisdiction to award injunctive relief to the Named Plaintiffs or absent Class members, and its approval of the Settlement Agreement was an abuse of discretion. View "David Williams, et al v. Reckitt Benckiser LLC, et al" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff alleged that toxic chemicals used during the carpet manufacturing process have been allowed to seep into the rivers that supply drinking water to communities near Dalton, including Rome, Georgia and the rest of Floyd County. On behalf of himself and a proposed class of water subscribers and ratepayers, he sued Dalton Utilities, a municipal corporation that operates Dalton’s wastewater treatment system, for violating the Clean Water Act and for creating a public nuisance. His lawsuit claims that Dalton Utilities has caused the City of Rome’s domestic water supply to be contaminated with dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals.   The question before the Eleventh Circuit was whether Dalton Utilities is entitled to municipal immunity from Plaintiff’s nuisance abatement (injunctive relief) claim. The Eleventh Circuit denied Plaintiff’s motion to dismiss Dalton Utilities’ appeal for lack of jurisdiction. However, the court affirmed district court’s order denying Dalton Utilities’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s nuisance abatement claim on municipal immunity grounds. The court explained that at oral argument counsel for Dalton Utilities conceded that if Phillips is still good law, Plaintiff has properly alleged a Phillips kind of nuisance claim for personal injury. The court agreed and held that municipal immunity does not shield Dalton Utilities from Plaintiff’s nuisance abatement claim. View "Jarrod Johnson v. Water, Light, and Sinking Fund Commission of City of Dalton" on Justia Law