We recently discussed Circuit Court rulings allowing nationwide class actions where the named plaintiffs could satisfy specific personal jurisdiction.  Since then, the Fifth Circuit has held that a defendant did not waive its personal jurisdiction defense to plaintiffs’ nationwide class allegations by raising the defense for the first time in opposition to class certification.  See Cruson v. Jackson Nat’l Life Ins. Co., ___ F.3d. ___, 2020 WL 1443531 (5th Cir. Mar. 25, 2020).  The Court did not go on to reach the merits of the defense, instead finding that plaintiffs failed to make an adequate predominance showing under Rule … Continue Reading

In the span of two days, two United States Court of Appeals held that a nationwide class action could proceed against a defendant as long as the named plaintiff could satisfy specific personal jurisdiction.  See Molock v. Whole Foods Market Grp., Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2020 WL 1146733 (D.C. Cir. March 10, 2020); Mussat v. IQVIA, Inc., ____ F.3d. ____, 2020 WL 1161166 (7th Cir. March 11, 2020).

In Molock, “the defendant moved to dismiss all nonresident putative class members for lack of personal jurisdiction.”  The district court denied the motion on the merits.  On interlocutory appeal, a … Continue Reading

In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), the Supreme Court held that Article III requires plaintiffs to establish a “concrete and particularized” injury-in-fact, “even in the context of a statutory violation.”  Although the Supreme Court noted that “intangible” injuries, including the “violation of a procedural right” can be sufficient in some circumstances, the Supreme Court made clear that “a bare procedural violation, divorced from any concrete harm” to the plaintiff cannot satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement.  Given the limited guidance provided by the Supreme Court, the circuit courts have taken differing approaches to what constitutes an injury-in-fact … 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

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

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

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

Below, Chicago-based litigator Matt Gold weighs in on the implications of last week’s Supreme Court decision rejecting the sliding scale approach to specific jurisdiction in mass tort proceedings.

On June 19, 2017, the Supreme Court reinforced its narrow application of specific jurisdiction in mass tort proceedings in an 8-1 decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court of California.  In the class action context, this ruling may impede future class representatives attempting to forum shop by filing suit in a state court that not only lacks general jurisdiction over the defendant, but also lacks a direct connection to the … Continue Reading

Washington, DC-based litigator James Freije brings us an analysis of the Supreme Court’s latest class certification decision.

Resolving a current split amongst multiple federal circuits, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled in Microsoft Corp. v. Baker that federal courts of appeals lack jurisdiction to review orders denying class certification after plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.  Justice Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, overturning the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, citing a lack of jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (“§ 1291”).  In a separate opinion concurring … Continue Reading

Commercial litigator Brooks Gresham and products liability litigator Trent Taylor bring us some timely thoughts about reliance from a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a food-labeling class action.

Leonardo da Vinci, among many other laudable epithets, has been called “the last person who knew everything,” as he is thought to have learned all of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time. Whether or not true, undoubtedly Leonardo would be overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge available today, instantaneously, at the touch of a button. Indeed, in the United States … Continue Reading