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The Court of Appeal treated the consolidated appeal as a petition for writ of mandate and reached the merits of the superior court's order compelling arbitration of plaintiff's individual claims and terminating the class claims. The court granted the petition in part, finding plaintiff's cause of action under the Labor Code for Doty Bros.' failure to timely pay wages upon his separation from employment and his unfair competition action based on that alleged statutory violation were not encompassed by the arbitration provision in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The court denied the petition in all other respects, holding that the remaining causes of action were subject to arbitration, and the trial court's termination of the class claims were proper on the ground that the CBA did not authorize classwide arbitration. View "Cortez v. Doty Bros. Equipment Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Mary Hall, as personal representative of the estate of Adolphus Hall, Sr., and Anaya McKinnon, as personal representative of the estate of Wanzy Lee Bowman appealed the dismissal of their class-action claims against Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. ("ELG"). Plaintiffs alleged ELG agreed to represent hundreds of clients who had been exposed to asbestos, including their respective decedents. Plaintiffs alleged ELG charged its clients an excessive fee above and beyond the amount listed in their respective contracts. The trial court dismissed their case with prejudice. The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed with the trial court’s judgment, reversed and remanded. On remand, the trial court appointed a special master, who again recommended dismissal of plaintiffs’ claims. The trial court held that the attorney-employment agreement was ambiguous and that this ambiguity was fatal to the plaintiffs' class-allegation claims. Thus, the trial court dismissed the class claims before the class-certification process began. At this point in the proceedings and under the standard of review, the Supreme Court saw no ambiguity in the attorney-employment agreements, negating the trial court's contrary conclusion as to the individualized inquiry necessary with regard to the plaintiffs' contract claims. The Court therefore reversed the trial court's order dismissing the plaintiffs' claims for class-based relief and remanded the matter for further proceedings. View "Hall v. Environmental Litigation Group, P.C." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are current and former correctional peace officers who work or worked at various state correctional facilities. They brought coordinated class actions alleging they were improperly denied pay for the time they spent under their employer’s control before and after their work shifts while traveling to and from their work posts, attending briefings, checking out mandatory equipment, and submitting to searches at security checkpoints. Plaintiffs alleged causes of action for failure to pay contractual overtime (Lab. Code, 222, 223), failure to pay the California minimum wage (1182.11, 1182.12, 1194), failure to keep accurate records of hours worked (1174), and failure to pay overtime in breach of common law contractual obligations. The court certified classes, with two subclasses, distinguishing between employees represented by unions and those not represented, then held that plaintiffs’ entitlement to overtime pay is controlled by federal, rather than California, law, the entered judgment for defendants. The court of appeal reversed as to the subclass of unrepresented supervisory employees and affirmed as to the subclass of represented employees. View "Stoetzl v. State of California" on Justia Law

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HCSC is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation that offers Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance through licensed affiliates in five states and contracts with outside affiliates for prescription drug services, claim payments, and other administrative work. HCSC owns or controls its affiliates and places its officers on their boards. HCSC does not disclose the extent of these ties to its insureds. Its policies state that the affiliates pay it rebates, but it does not share those rebates with its customers. Alleging that these arrangements violated Illinois law and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001, Priddy and others filed a putative class. The district court certified four classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3): employers who purchased HCSC plans for employees in any of the five states served by HCSC; beneficiaries of employer-furnished plans provided by HCSC in any of the five states; individuals who purchased insurance directly from HCSC in any of the five states; and Illinois insureds who were protected by Illinois insurance regulations. The four classes included approximately 10 million people. The Seventh Circuit vacated class certification. It is not clear that HCSC owed many class members any fiduciary duty. Three of the four classes certified include people whom HCSC does not insure and who do not pay it premiums. View "Priddy v. Health Care Service Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, shoppers who shopped at SuperValu stores that suffered data breaches, filed putative class actions alleging that hackers gained access to defendants' network because defendants failed to take adequate measures to protect customers' payment card information. The Eighth Circuit held that the complaint has not sufficiently alleged a substantial risk of identity theft, and plaintiffs' allegations of future injury did not support standing in this case. However, the complaint sufficiently alleged that one of the plaintiffs suffered an injury in fact, fairly traceable to defendants' security practices, and likely to be redressed by a favorable judgment. Because that plaintiff had Article III standing, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of his complaint. The court affirmed the dismissal as to the remaining plaintiffs and remanded for further proceedings. View "Alleruzzo v. SuperValu, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2011, Roppo suffered serious injuries in an auto accident with Block, who was insured by Travelers. Travelers and the attorneys it retained for Block disclosed only the limits of Block’s automobile liability policy; they did not disclose the existence of his additional umbrella policy. Roppo eventually learned of the umbrella policy and then settled the case. She brought a proposed class action, challenging the company’s alleged practice of not disclosing the existence of umbrella policies. The case was removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The district court denied Roppo’s motion to remand to state court but allowed her to file a second amended complaint, which added Block’s defense attorneys as defendants. Her third amended complaint added a cause of action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c). The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal with prejudice the complaint’s 11 counts, finding that the district court had jurisdiction and that her complaint did not sufficiently state claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and negligence under Illinois law, or violations of the Illinois Insurance Code and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. View "Roppo v. Travelers Commercial Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In 2013, an Australian teenager measured his Subway Footlong sandwich, which was 11 inches long. He photographed it alongside a tape measure and posted the photo on Facebook. It went viral. U.S. plaintiffs’ lawyers sued under state consumer-protection laws and sought class certification under FRCP 23. The suits were combined in a multidistrict litigation. Limited discovery established that Subway’s unbaked rolls are uniform; baked rolls rarely fall short of 12 inches. Minor variations occur due to natural variability in the baking process and cannot be prevented. No customer is shorted any food. With no compensable injury, the lawyers sought injunctive relief. Subway agreed to implement measures to ensure, to the extent practicable, that all Footlong sandwiches are at least 12 inches long. The parties agreed to cap class counsel's fees at $525,000. The court preliminarily approved the settlement. A class member and “professional objector to hollow class-action settlements,” argued that the settlement enriched only the lawyers and provided no meaningful benefits to the class. The judge certified the class and approved the settlement. The Seventh Circuit reversed. A class action that “seeks only worthless benefits for the class” and “yields [only] fees for class counsel” is “no better than a racket” and “should be dismissed out of hand.” View "Buren v. Doctor's Associates Inc." on Justia Law

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Boiron makes homeopathic products, including an over‐the‐counter remedy called Oscillo that retails for between $12 and $20. Oscillo is made by mixing one percent Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum (duck hearts and livers) with 99 percent water, repeating the dilution process 200 times, and then selling the result in pill form. The repeated dilutions render the finished product nothing more than a placebo. Boiron’s claim that Oscillo has a therapeutic effect on flu symptoms is “highly doubtful.” Conrad filed a class action against Boiron for deceptive marketing. About a year later Boiron offered Conrad $5,025, more than he could hope to win at trial. Conrad did not accept the money because it would moot his claim. The district court refused to certify Conrad’s proposed class and found his individual claim moot. The Seventh Circuit remanded; an unaccepted offer cannot moot a case. There are other measures available to address the problem (if it exists here) of “unreasonably and vexatiously” persisting in litigation, such as 28 U.S.C. 1927, but the district court did not decide whether they should be used. View "Conrad v. Boiron, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a claim under Ky. Rev. Stat. 337.385 and filed a motion under Ky. R. Civ. P. 23 to certify a class action in circuit court. The circuit court denied the motion on purely legal grounds. The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling that section 337.385 does not authorize class actions. The Supreme Court reversed, holding, as a matter of law, that Rule 23 remains an available procedural mechanism applicable to Plaintiff’s cause of action brought under section 337.385. The court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether Plaintiff’s class met the requirements set forth in Rule 23. View "McCann v. Sullivan University System, Inc." on Justia Law

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A defendant in a putative class action can waive its right to compel arbitration against absent class members by deciding not to seek arbitration against the named plaintiff. In this wage and hour class action, the Court of Appeals held that Plan B waived its right to seek arbitration by filing and then withdrawing a motion to compel arbitration against the named plaintiff, Maria Elena Sprunk, and then waiting until after a class had been certified to seek arbitration against class members. The court held that Plan B provided sufficient evidence of the arbitration agreements; sufficient evidence supported the trial court's waiver finding; and substantial evidence supported the trial court's finding that Plan B delayed filing its motions to compel arbitration so that it could obtain a strategic advantage. The court explained that the the four-year delay resulted in Sprunk conducting class-related discovery and preparing and arguing an extensive class certification motion that never would have been necessary if individual arbitration had been ordered earlier in the case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court's motion to compel arbitration. View "Sprunk v. Prisma LLC" on Justia Law