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

Those who tuned in to McGuireWoods’ data breach class action webinar last month know that attacking the plaintiff’s standing can be an effective defense strategy in these cases.  Here’s our analysis of the most recent appellate decision on that issue.

Last Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a putative class action filed against a merchant in connection with a data breach of customer information, holding that the cardholder failed to allege sufficient injury to establish standing.

The decision adds yet another data point for practitioners feeling out the boundaries for when the exposure … Continue Reading

As you probably know, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court finally issued its long-awaited opinion in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez.  Tammy Adkins & Helen Arnold of McGuireWoods’s Chicago office wrote up an excellent summary, which I’m quoting below:

On January 20th, 2016, in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, a case closely watched by both sides of the class action bar, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an opinion authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer of judgment did not moot the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) putative class action brought by plaintiff Jose Gomez.

Defendant

Continue Reading