On Jan. 29, 2019, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a strikingly broad decision, raised the bar for employers’ compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In Gilberg v California Check Cashing Stores LLC, the court held that an employer violates the FCRA by including, in a pre-background check notice form, information about a job applicant’s rights under various state laws. This decision will require significant revision of many employers’ FCRA consent forms.

The Gilberg court’s opinion focused on the FCRA’s pre-background check notice requirement, one of several notice and disclosure obligations the FCRA imposes on

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Any good litigator can tell you that removal is proper where there is diversity of citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.  Diversity generally requires that no defendant be a citizen of the same state as the plaintiff.  By way of example, consider a lawsuit filed by Paul, a Pennsylvania citizen, in Pennsylvania state court against Daniel from California and David, also a Pennsylvania citizen.  At first glance, it would seem there is no diversity because David is from Pennsylvania and he is a “forum defendant”.  However, not all litigators may realize that in certain jurisdictions a defendant can … Continue Reading

As the new year begins, this is a good time to recap two of the major Supreme Court decisions from the past year impacting class action law, and to look ahead to a couple big decisions on the horizon.

Looking Back

Arbitration and Class Actions

First, in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis, the Court confirmed that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable in employment contracts, even where the employee is covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  Within a year after the Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, which held that the … Continue Reading

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

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

Diane Flannery and Annie Cai Larson provide their thoughts below on a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision from earlier this year that held a counterclaim-defendant could not rely on CAFA to avoid state court. 

The Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was enacted in 2005 to expand the subject-matter jurisdiction that Federal courts had over class actions.  Yet CAFA’s reach is not unlimited, and in some instances, a corporation may still be stuck litigating a large-scale class action in state court—a venue friendly to class action plaintiffs.

Earlier this year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in Tri-State Water 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

Last week, David S. Reidy provided his analysis of the California Supreme Court’s recent decision invalidating an arbitration and class waiver provision in a credit card customer agreement.  We jumped at the chance to republish his McGuireWoods Legal Alert here.

On April 6, the California Supreme Court issued the latest in an ongoing series of cases resisting preemption of California state law under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and again testing the limits of the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence under the FAA.

The decision purports to limit the enforceability in California of arbitration clauses that address injunctive relief, and will … Continue Reading

Earlier this month, I wrote about the class-action provisions of the new Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, which has passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is headed for a floor vote in the House.  At the end of that post, I promised a further explanation of the mass action provisions as well.  These provisions are aimed primarily at multi-district litigation (MDL), which is rapidly becoming a substitute for class proceedings when dealing with numerous personal-injury claims.

Section 4 – would amend the federal jurisdiction statute, allowing the court to sever claims made by an in-state plaintiff if … Continue Reading