Below, Richmond-based litigators Bryan A. Fratkin and Heidi E. Siegmund examine the Seventh Circuit’s recent holding that an employment applicant’s missed opportunity to address a background check constitutes sufficient injury to confer standing. 

On August 29, the Seventh Circuit reentered the multi-front fray that has broken out among lower courts in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo v Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016).  Robertson v. Allied Solutions began with a familiar fact pattern:  Robertson applied for a job with Allied, and Allied decided not to hire her based on a negative, but accurate, background … Continue Reading

In a published decision issued yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that collective claims for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA were not subject to the arbitration agreements in plaintiff employees’ employment contracts. Instead, since those claims were brought for the benefit of the ERISA plans in which the plaintiffs participated as a whole, they were outside the scope of the employees’ individual arbitration agreements, and could be litigated in court on a collective basis.

Qui Tam Claims Guided the Court’s Analysis, and May Guide Plaintiffs’ Counsel Going Forward

The Ninth Circuit’s decision may … Continue Reading

LA-based commercial litigator Arsen Kourinian has provided us with some timely notes from last week’s consumer finance litigation conference in Chicago:

On July 16 and 17, 2018, the American Conference Institute (ACI) hosted its 30th National Forum on Consumer Finance Class Actions and Government Enforcement in Chicago. The 2018 conference was well attended by many legal professionals, including in-house counsel, defendants’ and plaintiffs’ counsel, state and federal prosecutors and regulators, and federal judges. Themes covered at the conference included in-house counsel perspectives on aligning litigation costs with business goals, the nature of federal and state enforcement actions by state … Continue Reading

McGuireWoods Fintech industry team leader David Reidy and appellate litigator Jonathan Urick bring us this succinct analysis of the Supreme Court’s hotly anticipated decision on the doctrine of “equitable tolling” in class actions:

Class-action plaintiffs cannot toll the statute of limitations indefinitely by filing copycat class actions until certification sticks, the U.S. Supreme Court held on Monday, June 11, in China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh.  The Court refused to extend American Pipe tolling—which stops the limitations clock for putative class members’ individual claims while a putative class action is pending—to successive, overlapping class claims.  After a district court dismisses … Continue Reading

We’ve been monitoring the appellate battles over the enforceability of class- and collective-action waivers in the employment context since September 2016, when we pondered whether circuit splits would land the issue in the Supreme Court.  Since then, our colleagues in the Labor and Employment practice at McGuireWoods have supplied interim reports on the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in not one, not two, but three such cases, and on oral argument in those cases last fall.  Click here to read our colleagues’ succinct analysis of last week’s 5-4 decision upholding employee class- and collective-action waivers under the Federal Arbitration … Continue Reading

For years, companies doing business in New Jersey have been plagued by an archaic statute— the Truth in Consumer Contract,  Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA,” pronounced Tick-wa-nah)—adored only by consumer class action lawyers.  Among other things, the statute prohibits companies from inserting provisions in their customer contracts and other notices that include harmless phrases like “void where prohibited by law” without also disclosing whether the provision is void in New Jersey.  To be fair, the statute also prohibits companies from including provisions that are clearly prohibited by law (think of a contract with a furniture dealer that tells the customer … Continue Reading

Just a brief update on the 9th Circuit’s most controversial class-action case of the year. As expected, the proponents of the settlement that was rejected have appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit en banc.

What is slightly less expected is the alliance of interests that have filed amicus briefs.  As Law360 reports, they include both automotive trade groups and consumer advocacy groups. (Unfortunately, the article does not include links to the amicus briefs.)

The plaintiffs’ advocacy groups have a clear cut argument: they have always asked for a minimal predominance requirement. Consumer groups and pro-manufacturing groups, Continue Reading

Earlier this week, in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Efficiency Litig., the Ninth Circuit vacated a nationwide class action settlement, ruling that the lower court had abused its discretion by not considering whether the variations in the consumer-protection laws of the fifty states might predominate over common issues in the case. The ruling (by Judge Ikuta) was controversial from the start, arriving with an impassioned dissent from Judge Nguyen. And it’s that controversy that makes this opinion worth watching.

The facts of the case will sound familiar to experienced litigators. In the wake of an EPA investigation, several … Continue Reading

2017 was an unusually eventful year for lawyers who track the ascertainability requirement, which had, for the last five or so years, become a staple argument for class action defendants.  Here are the top issues that class action litigators had to contend with.

Circuit split on administrative feasibility.

This year, both the Second and the Ninth Circuits have held that administrative feasibility is not required to show ascertainability.  The Ninth Circuit may have gone even further: some of the language it used suggests that it may not view ascertainability a requirement at all for certifying a class.  (It had … Continue Reading

With the year ending, and McGuireWoods’s webinar next week on class actions’ Hot Issues of 2017 approaching, this seems like a good time to take note of a few of the trends we have seen arising in class actions over the last year.  Consider these appetizers for the main course on December 19.  So, with no further ado, here’s a taste of four ways in which class action lawyers have dealt with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Spokeo v. Robins in 2017.

Emerging Circuit split over data breaches? Appellate courts are split in interpreting Spokeo, particularly with regard to data … Continue Reading