Last month, this blog covered the Eleventh Circuit’s denial of a petition to rehear Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, a decision that held that class action incentive awards are per se unlawful.  See 2022 WL 3083717 (11th Cir. Aug. 3, 2022).  That denial left the Eleventh Circuit as the only circuit where class action incentive awards can never be included in settlements under any circumstances. Now, the Department of Justice has relied on the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Johnson to try to block class action incentive awards in a class action settlement with the federal government. 

Continue Reading DOJ Seeks to Block Class Action Incentive Awards in Recent Class Action Settlement

A settlement class that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan (S.D.N.Y.) was likely to approve circa June 2021 was rejected “on further reflection” last week, due to a lack of information about how the lead plaintiff stacked up against a class of largely “anonymous” crypto investors. 

Continue Reading Crypto Class Settlement Nixed Due to Insufficient Data on “Anonymous” Investors 

In Drazen v. Pinto, the Eleventh Circuit vacated a class settlement and held that in order to receive individual damages (whether through a settlement or otherwise), all class members must have Article III standing under Circuit precedent.  2022 WL 2963470, at *6 (11th Cir. July 27, 2022).  The decision gives defendants another tool to defeat class certification, while at the same time makes it more difficult to include class members that lack standing in classwide settlements. 

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Holds that All Class Members Must Have Standing Under Circuit Law to Recover Individual Damages

The en banc Eleventh Circuit recently denied a petition to rehear the case of Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC (Johnson II).  See 2022 WL 3083717 (11th Cir. Aug. 3, 2022).  The initial opinion in Johnson relied on two Supreme Court decisions from the 1880s to hold that district courts can never, under

The Fourth Circuit recently clarified two points of law on which it had not previously spoken: (1) who bears the burden when a class member objects to a proposed settlement as unfair, unreasonable, and inadequate; and (2) whether an objecting class member can be required to release a valueless claim without compensation.  1988 Tr. for Allen Child. Dated 8/8/88 v. Banner Life Ins. Co., 2022 WL 774731 (4th Cir. Mar. 15, 2022).  In a long-running dispute between a life insurance company and a class of its policyholders, policyholder 1988 Trust for Allen Children Dated 8/8/88 (the “Trust”) opted out and objected to the proposed settlement.

Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Rules that Settling Parties, Not Objectors, Bear the Burden of Showing a Proposed Class Settlement Should Be Approved

Keurig has agreed to settle on a nationwide class basis a lawsuit alleging that the labeling of its K-Cup pods misleads consumers into believing that K-Cups are more widely recyclable than the coffee pods actually are.

The complaint, filed in 2018, alleged that Keurig marketed its products as recyclable, despite knowing that they “typically end[ed] up in landfills.” The plaintiff claimed that the packaging conveyed that consumers can “[h]ave [their] cup and recycle it, too,” by following the illustrated instructions to “PEEL,” “EMPTY,” and “RECYCLE” next to the chasing arrow recycling symbol. However, the plaintiff claimed, these labels were deceptive because K-Cups cannot be recycled due to their size, making them per se deceptive under the Green Guides, which state that “if any component [of a recyclable product] limits the ability to recycle the item, any recyclable claim would be deceptive. . . . [If] its shape, size or some other attribute is not accepted in recycling programs, [it] should not be marketed as recyclable.” The plaintiff additionally alleged that even if any pods were incidentally recycled, they would still end up in landfills because there was no downstream market for the recycled pods.

Continue Reading Keurig Settles K-Cup Recycling Claims

There are numerous ways that a class action may be won through an effective litigation strategy.  But in some instances a corporate defendant will conclude that the most cost-effective approach is to pursue settlement rather than to take on the risks and costs of further litigation.  Before going down that road, one of the first things that will need to be evaluated is whether to pursue a class-wide settlement, complete with court approval under Rule 23(e) or its state equivalent, or instead to try the simpler route of settling with the named plaintiff only.

Continue Reading Practice Pointers: Should a Putative Class Action Be Settled on an Individual Basis?

A recent Ninth Circuit decision highlights the importance of considering whether a plaintiff’s failure to comply with a state-law pre-suit notice requirement can be used to quickly defeat a class action. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that such pre-suit notice rules do not apply to putative class actions.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Confirms State-Law Pre-Suit Notice Requirements Apply to Putative Class Representatives