Class Action Procedure

In Elegant Massage, LLC v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 95 F.4th 181 (4th Cir. 2024), the Fourth Circuit took the unusual step of exercising interlocutory appellate jurisdiction over an order denying a motion to dismiss.  Having granted a petition for interlocutory review under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) of a class certification order, the court concluded that its review of the class order required it also to review the district court’s earlier denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss. Continue Reading In Rare Move, Fourth Circuit Exercises Pendent Jurisdiction Over Non-Final Order

A court in the Southern District of New York recently denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification on adequacy grounds in a suit challenging the labeling of “Maximum Strength” Robitussin cough syrup.  See Woodhams v. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Holdings (US) LLC (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2024).Continue Reading SDNY Court Denies Class Certification in Suit Challenging Robitussin “Max Strength” Labels

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

This blog has covered recent decisions from the Eleventh Circuit that have taken a hard look at class action settlements.  For example, we previously discussed the Eleventh Circuit’s per se prohibition on the inclusion of incentive awards for class action representatives in class action settlements.  See Johnson v. NPAS Sols., LLC, 975 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2020) (vacating settlement in part because it included incentive awards).  Just recently, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the approval of another class action settlement because it “included relief that [the district court] had no jurisdiction to award.”  Smith v. Miorelli, 93 F.4th 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 2024).Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Vacates Settlement Approval Because Plaintiffs Lacked Standing to Seek Injunctive Relief

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa has dismissed on sovereign immunity grounds a putative class action against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (“UIHC”) for unjust enrichment and violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  See Yeisley v. Univ. of Iowa Hosps. & Clinics, No. 3:23-cv-00025 (S.D. Iowa Feb. 16, 2024) (unpublished). 

The plaintiff, a patient of UIHC, had alleged that UIHC used a pixel on its website to share her personally identifiable information with third parties for marketing purposes and without her consent.  The Court did not reach the merits of the case and instead granted UIHC’s motion to dismiss on the basis that sovereign immunity barred each of the plaintiff’s claims.Continue Reading Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Over Use of Pixel Technology on University Hospital Websites

This blog recently covered a decision from the Northern District of California denying a defendant’s motion for summary judgment on a plaintiff’s “greenwashing” claims, which asserted that defendant’s “non-toxic” and “Earth-friendly” labels were false and misleading.  See Bush v. Rust-Oleum Corp., 2024 WL 308263 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2024).  Now, the same court has granted class certification on those claims, demonstrating that not only can these claims be difficult to defeat before trial, but it can also be difficult to prevent certification on those claims as well.Continue Reading “Greenwashing” Claims Certified For Class Treatment

The ever increasing threats of mass arbitration have led many companies to re-examine the terms of their contracts with consumers and to include provisions intended to guard against such threats.  One of the options some companies may find themselves considering is doing away with the arbitration clause but keeping the class action waiver.Continue Reading NJ Supreme Court to Rule on Whether Class Action Waiver is Enforceable Absent an Arbitration Clause

On December 28, the Western District of New York denied class certification in Miami Products & Chemical Co. v. Olin Corp, 1:19-cv-00385, an antitrust lawsuit alleging collusion over the price for caustic soda—a chemical used in various industries from pharmaceuticals to detergents.  The proposed class of caustic soda purchasers alleged that defendants, the largest soda manufacturers, colluded to increase prices through parallel public price announcements.  After closely scrutinizing the parties’ dueling economic expert reports, the court determined that plaintiffs had not satisfied the predominance standard of Rule 23(b)(3) as to questions of antitrust injury for two principal reasons.Continue Reading Rigorous Scrutiny of Expert Evidence Results in Denial of Caustic Soda Class Certification

Cy pres (or “next best”) provisions are a relatively common provision of class action settlements.  The cy pres doctrine permits funds from a cash settlement in a class action to be sent to a third party, usually a charitable organization with a mission related to the claims in the lawsuit, rather than to class members.  Cy pres provisions are typically used for residual funds in a settlement pool or, less commonly, when class members are hard to identify.  But cy pres provisions have come under increasing scrutiny, as evidenced by an Ohio federal court’s recent rejection of a class action settlement based solely on its cy pres provision.  Hawes v. Macy’s Inc., No. 1:17-CV-754, 2023 WL 8811499 (S.D. Ohio Dec. 20, 2023). Continue Reading Federal Court Rejects Class Action Settlement Over Cy Pres Provision

The Class Action Fairness Act permits removal of lawsuits brought under state-law rules similar to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.  A court in the Northern District of California recently denied a motion to remand even though the complaint did not reference California Code of Civil Procedure section 382, California’s Rule 23 analogue.  See Pac. Coast Fed’n of Fishermen’s Associations, Inc. v. Chevron Corp., No. 18-CV-07477-VC, 2023 WL 7299195 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2023).  The ruling underscores that in the Ninth Circuit, “the CAFA removal inquiry focuses on the complaint’s substance, not formal labels and allegations.”  Id. at *2.Continue Reading Court Finds CAFA Removal Proper, Even Though Complaint Did Not Explicitly Invoke Rule 23 Equivalent