Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
N.J. Carpenters Health Fund v. NovaStar Mortgage, Inc.
Objectors challenged the district court's judgment approving a class action settlement that includes Freddie Mac, with FHFA as its conservator, as a member of the plaintiff settlement class and enjoins FHFA from further pursuing Freddie Mac claims that were at issue in the action. The Second Circuit rejected FHFA's contention that the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) deprived the district court of subject matter jurisdiction to treat FHFA or Freddie Mac as a member of the settlement class or to rule that conservatorship assets were within the scope of the settlement.However, the court concluded for other reasons that the district court's March 8, 2019 prejudgment ruling that FHFA is a member of the settlement class was erroneous. The court explained that the Settlement Class, as certified by the district court, consists of persons and entities who purchased or otherwise acquired interests in the NovaStar bonds "prior to May 21, 2008." However, because FHFA did not succeed to the interests of Freddie Mac until September 6, 2008, it acquired no interest in Freddie Mac's NovaStar bonds until that date. Therefore, FHFA is not a member of the Settlement Class and the court modified the judgment to reflect the court's ruling. View "N.J. Carpenters Health Fund v. NovaStar Mortgage, Inc." on Justia Law
Arkansas Teacher Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Shareholders of Goldman filed a class action alleging that Goldman and several of its executives committed securities fraud by misrepresenting Goldman's freedom from, or ability to combat, conflicts of interest in its business practices. The district court certified a shareholder class, but the Second Circuit vacated the order in 2018. On remand, the district court certified the class once more. The Second Circuit affirmed and then the Supreme Court vacated and remanded because it was uncertain that the court properly considered the generic nature of Goldman's alleged misrepresentations in reviewing the district court's decision.The Second Circuit vacated the class certification order and remanded for further proceedings because it is unclear whether the district court considered the generic nature of Goldman's alleged misrepresentations in its evaluation of the evidence relevant to price impact and in light of the Supreme Court's clarifications of the legal standard. View "Arkansas Teacher Retirement System v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc." on Justia Law
Bermudez Chavez v. Occidental Chemical Corp.
The New York Court of Appeals answered two certified questions, holding that (1) New York recognizes cross-jurisdictional class action tolling; and (2) "tolling ends—as a matter of law—when there is a clear dismissal of a putative class action, including a dismissal for forum non conveniens, or denial of class certification for any reason." The Court of Appeals further held that the underlying orders terminated class action tolling in 1995, thus rendering plaintiffs' claims untimely.In light of these holdings, the Second Circuit vacated the district court's order denying Occidental judgment on the pleadings, remanding with instructions to enter judgment, consistent with this opinion and the Court of Appeals' answers to the court's certified questions, in Occidental's favor. View "Bermudez Chavez v. Occidental Chemical Corp." on Justia Law
Cho v. BlackBerry Ltd.
Plaintiffs Cho and Ulug, individual named plaintiffs in a putative securities class action, appeal the district court's grant of judgment on the pleadings and dismissal of their claims against defendants. Plaintiffs argue that they should be permitted to rely on the successful appeal by the lead plaintiffs in this case, and that the district court erred in granting judgment on the pleadings and dismissing their claims.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and concluded that Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 3 requires that individual named plaintiffs in a class actions – who, unlike absent class members, have chosen to litigate their claims personally – indicate individually their intent to appeal; Cho and Ulug's failure to appeal the district court's first dismissal of their claims rendered that decision final as to them, and the district court properly dismissed their attempt to renew their claims after the lead plaintiffs successfully appealed; Cho and Ulug's claims against the newly added defendant are barred by res judicata; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying reconsideration. View "Cho v. BlackBerry Ltd." on Justia Law
Jianmin Jin v. Shanghai Original, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a putative class action on behalf of himself and similarly-situated employees of Joe's Shanghai restaurant, alleging violations of the New York Labor Law (NYLL). The district court certified the class action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) of all nonmanagerial employees at the Flushing, Queens location of Joe's Shanghai on the NYLL claims. However, five days before the trial was scheduled to start, the district court sua sponte decertified the class, determining that class counsel was no longer adequately representing the class. The district court held a bench trial on plaintiff's individual claims and entered judgment in favor of plaintiff against three of the defendants.As a preliminary issue, the Second Circuit concluded that, although plaintiff prevailed on the merits of his claims, this appeal is not moot because he maintains standing as to the class certification issue. On the merits, the court concluded that because class counsel's conduct made clear that counsel was no longer adequately representing the class, the district court acted within its discretion in decertifying the class. In this case, the record is replete with counsel's shortcomings before the class was decertified. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Jianmin Jin v. Shanghai Original, Inc." on Justia Law
Liberian Community Ass’n v. Lamont
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the quarantine decisions of certain Connecticut state officials in response to an Ebola epidemic in West Africa. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's denial of their motion for class certification and dismissing their suit for lack of standing and based on qualified immunity. Plaintiffs primarily argue that they suffered actual or imminent injuries that create standing to seek prospective relief to avert allegedly unconstitutional future quarantines; clearly established law required that any quarantine imposed be medically necessary and comport with certain procedural safeguards; and their class is sufficiently numerous to merit certification.The Second Circuit affirmed and held that the district court properly deemed plaintiffs' injuries too speculative to support standing. In this case, plaintiffs failed to plead a sufficient likelihood that, under the revised policy, any of them faces a substantial risk of suffering a future injury. The court also held that the law surrounding quarantines was not clearly established such that a state official may be held liable for the actions taken here. The court did not reach the class certification issue because it is mooted by the court's conclusion as to standing. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to amend the judgment to clarify that the state law claims were dismissed without prejudice. View "Liberian Community Ass'n v. Lamont" on Justia Law
Berni v. Barilla S.p.A.
Objector, a member of a class of past purchasers of pasta, argued that the district court erred in certifying plaintiffs as a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) class when the district court approved their settlement with Barilla. Plaintiffs and Barilla seek to preserve the settlement.The Second Circuit held that past purchasers of a product—like the purchasers of Barilla pasta in this case—are not eligible for class certification under Rule 23(b)(2). The court explained that the district court erred in certifying plaintiffs as a Rule 23(b)(2) class because not all class members stand to benefit from injunctive relief, the kind of relief the settlement primarily provides. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order granting class settlement and remanded for further proceedings. View "Berni v. Barilla S.p.A." on Justia Law
Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
Class plaintiffs are seven named plaintiffs representing six putative classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). Plaintiffs also filed suit on behalf of themselves and 516 individuals who opted in to a conditionally certified collective action (the "collective plaintiffs") under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Class plaintiffs alleged that Chipotle misclassified them as exempt employees in violation of the labor laws in six states, and collective plaintiffs alleged that Chipotle misclassified them as exempt employees in violation of the FLSA.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying class certification on the basis of a lack of predominance and superiority. While reasonable minds could disagree, on the record before the court, it could not say that the district court's factual findings were clearly erroneous or that its conclusion was outside the range of permissible decisions.However, the court vacated the district court's order decertifying the collective action, holding that the district court committed legal error by improperly analogizing the standard for maintaining a collective action under the FLSA to Rule 23 procedure, and relying on that improper analogy in concluding that named plaintiffs and opt-in plaintiffs are not "similarly situated." In this case, the district court committed legal error in employing the "sliding scale" analogy to Rule 23 as it improperly conflated section 216(b) with Rule 23 and that rule's more stringent requirements. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Scott v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc." on Justia Law
Chavez v. Occidental Chemical Corp.
The Second Circuit certified the following questions to the New York State Court of Appeals: (1) whether New York law recognizes ʺcross‐jurisdictional class action tolling,ʺ i.e., tolling of a New York statute of limitations by the pendency of a class action in another jurisdiction; and (2) whether, under New York law, a non‐merits dismissal of class certification can terminate class action tolling, and if so, whether the Orders at issue did so. View "Chavez v. Occidental Chemical Corp." on Justia Law
P.J. v. Connecticut State Board of Education
Plaintiffs filed suit against the State in 1991 on behalf of a statewide class of children with intellectual disabilities for failing to comply with the requirement in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), that children with disabilities be educated in the "least restrictive environment" that meets their needs. After the parties negotiated a settlement, and near the end of the agreement's term, plaintiffs' counsel moved for additional attorneys' fees.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's award of attorneys' fees in part, holding that counsel was not barred from further attorneys' fees by the text of the settlement agreement or the definition of "prevailing party" contained in Buckhannon Board & Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598 (2001). However, the court reversed in part, holding that the district court misapplied the Delaware Valley standard in awarding several categories of work. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "P.J. v. Connecticut State Board of Education" on Justia Law