Almost exactly a year ago, the first COVID-19 tuition reimbursement lawsuits were filed against higher education institutions across the United States and we warned of the continued onslaught of such litigation.  With the filing of those reimbursement class actions decreasing, higher education institutions should be cognizant of a potential new wave of COVID-19 class actions: privacy class action lawsuits related to the COVID-19 vaccine.… Continue Reading

On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Facebook v. Duguid, which resolved a circuit split regarding the meaning of “automatic telephone dialing system” (autodialer or ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In a decision authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court adopted the narrow, pro-defendant definition of autodialer.… Continue Reading

On March 30, 2021, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Transunion LLC v. Ramirez, No. 20-297, a case that could have far-reaching implications on absent class member standing, particularly where the injuries of these absent class members would be impossible or difficult to establish.  The Court agreed to address whether Article III or Rule 23 permits a damages class action where the vast majority of the class suffered no actual injury, let alone an injury like what the class representative suffered.… Continue Reading

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent opinion in Lyngaas v. Curaden AG (“Lyngaas”), has important implications for federal class actions regarding personal jurisdiction and the use of non-admissible evidence to support class certification.

In Lyngaas, a plaintiff brought a class action against Curaden AG, a Swiss entity, and its U.S. subsidiary, Curaden USA, for allegedly violating the TCPA.  The basis for the plaintiff’s allegations were two unsolicited fax advertisements sent on behalf of Curaden USA to the plaintiff and 46,000 other individuals across the country.  These advertisements did not mention Curaden AG.

Curaden AG argued the … Continue Reading

Recently, in the Matter of Navistar MaxxForce Engines Mktg., Sales Practices, & Prod. Liab. Litig. (“Navistar”), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to adopt the “reasonable indication” approach, which would allow class members to opt out of a class based on any reasonable indication of their desire to exclude themselves.  Finding the application of such an approach to be impractical, the court refused to adopt it.

Navistar involved the settlement of a class action in which class members accused Navistar of selling trucks with defective engines.  Prior to approving the settlement, the district court required that all … Continue Reading

McGuireWoods partners Davis Walsh and Samuel Tarry are editors of a timely new book providing practical guidance for handling infectious disease litigation, from COVID-19 pandemic disputes to localized outbreaks that require specialized knowledge. “Infectious Disease Litigation: Science, Law & Procedure” is published by the American Bar Association and becomes available Feb. 12.

“Public health concerns have permanently changed some of the ways we hold each other accountable, and professional litigators, business leaders, and litigants need a new reference map — one that better acknowledges the intersection of law and science,” Walsh and Tarry wrote in the book’s introduction.… Continue Reading

Since the Supreme Court’s May 16, 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, Article III standing has continued to be a major focus in federal courts.  The Sixth Circuit’s opinion in Primus Group, LLC v. Smith & Wesson Corp., et al., 2021 WL 423741 (6th Cir. Feb. 8, 2021), continued this focus.

In Primus Group, an entertainment venue filed a class action against eight firearms manufacturers.  In the class action, Primus purported to represent “[a]ll persons entitled to freely attend schools, shopping locations, churches, entertainment venues, and workplaces in the United States without the intrusion of individuals armed … Continue Reading

On September 18, 2020, we wrote an article discussing how the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, No. 18-12344 (11th Cir. 2020) held that class action incentive payments were improper because “incentive award[s] constitute[] a salary, a bounty, or both[.]”

While the Eleventh Circuit mulls on whether to review this issue en banc, on January 14, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit weighed in on the issue further deepening the circuit split if the Eleventh Circuit does not reverse course.

In Shane Group, Inc. Continue Reading

For more than a decade, United States District Courts have taken a stark approach to the need for appropriate class definitions and ascertainability in federal class actions.  Mueller v. CBS, Inc., 200 F.R.D. 227, 233 (W.D. Pa. 2001) (a class definition cannot be “amorphous, vague or indeterminate.”); Adair v. Johnston, 221 F.R.D. 573, 577 (M.D. Ala. 2004) (“[F]or a party to represent a class, the class sought to be represented must be adequately defined and clearly ascertainable.”).

The United States Courts of Appeals have followed suit.  Young v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 693 F.3d 532, 538 (6th … Continue Reading