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Jonah Panikar

Jonah Panikar is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He is a member of the Litigation and Investigations and Class Actions Practice Groups.

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Numerous student athletes have filed putative class actions against the NCAA and its member institutions for injuries resulting from concussions sustained while playing college sports, some of which have been consolidated into an MDL.  The MDL court recently denied certification of several Rule 23(c)(4) issues classes based on the plaintiffs’ earlier waiver of the ability to seek certification of a 23(c)(4) class.  See In re NCAA Student-Athlete Concussion Injury Litigation—Single Sport/Single School (Football), 2024 WL 1242987 (N.D. Ill. March 22, 2024).Continue Reading Illinois Federal Court Denies Certification of Student-Athlete Issues Classes on Waiver Grounds

Another federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed a putative class action against a vehicle manufacturer on prudential mootness grounds, holding that the manufacturer’s voluntary recall program mooted the plaintiffs’ claims. See Letson v. Ford Motor Co., 2024 WL 845844 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 28, 2024).Continue Reading Another Federal Court Holds that Recall Moots Class-Action Claims

False labeling class actions are often mired in debates about how a reasonable consumer would understand a product’s label. In many cases, the fight is centered on what third-party certification marks warrant to reasonable consumers. In Dzielak v. Whirlpool Corporation, — F.4th —, No. 20-2551, 2023 WL 6331102 (3rd Cir. Sept. 29, 2023), the Third Circuit articulated powerful arguments against finding that these marks create broad warranties.Continue Reading Third Circuit Flirts with Narrow View of Warranties Based on Third-Party Certification

Over the last several years, food and drug manufacturers have litigated countless class action lawsuits claiming that their products are misleadingly advertised.  Many of these lawsuits claim that a product’s packaging is misleading because it allegedly violates FDA labeling rules.  Last week, in DiCroce v. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, — F.4th —, No. 22-1910, 2023 WL 6056144 (1st Cir. Sept. 18, 2023), the First Circuit found that these claims are impliedly preempted by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). Continue Reading First Circuit Finds “Fraud on the FDA” Claims Preempted by the FDCA

In a recent published decision, the Fifth Circuit declined to articulate a rule for the “order and depth in which” it “grapples with constitutional standing and the Rule 23 inquiry.”  Chavez v. Plan Benefit Services, Inc., __ F.4th __, No. 22-50368, 2023 WL 5160393 (5th Cir. Aug. 11, 2023).  The court concluded that the plaintiffs—three employees who participated in health and retirement plans administered by the defendants—had standing to sue on behalf of absent class members who participated in thousands of different benefits plans administered by the defendants.  The court went on to affirm the district court’s certification of two classes, each under both Rules 23(b)(1)(B) and 23(b)(3).Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Declines to Wade Into Circuit Split on Relationship Between Standing and Class Certification

In recent years, sellers of consumer products have faced countless class action lawsuits alleging that their products are misleadingly advertised.  Many motions to dismiss often turn on whether the product’s advertising is misleading to a reasonable consumer.  But in Valiente v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91089 (S.D. Fla. May 24, 2023), the court took a different tack, dismissing a false advertising claim on Article III standing grounds because the defendant’s “money-back guarantee” effectively mooted the plaintiff’s claim for monetary damages.Continue Reading “Money-Back Guarantee” Deprived Plaintiff of Standing to Bring a False Labeling Class Action

A procedural violation of a state’s privacy statute is not alone enough to establish Article III standing—a plaintiff must suffer a concrete injury, such as an increased risk of identity theft.  The Fourth Circuit’s decision in O’Leary v. TrustedID, Inc., 2023 WL 2125996 (4th Cir. Feb. 21, 2023) confirms this—but also illustrates how Article III standing is a two-edged sword that may allow a plaintiff to defeat a defendant’s attempt to remove a case to federal court. 

The plaintiff in O’Leary filed a class action against TrustedID in South Carolina state court for allegedly violating South Carolina’s Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 37-20-180.  The statute prohibits requiring consumers to use six or more digits of their Social Security numbers to access a website without also requiring some other authentication measure.  The plaintiff alleged that TrustedID’s website required him to provide six digits of his Social Security number and did not have any other safety precautions, such as a password requirement.Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Remands Class Action to State Court After Plaintiff Questions His Own Standing