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

Screenshot 2017-02-14 08.51.54
The House of Representatives has reintroduced the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA), and it’s more substantial than the 2015 version.  The previous version, you may recall, attempted to reinforce the typicality requirement to minimize the number of “no injury” class actions brought.  It cleared the House, but died in the Senate.  It appears that House Republicans sense an opportunity with the new administration to enact more sweeping class reforms.
I testified in support of the 2015 Act, and having read the new bill, I like it even more. I think it lives up to its … Continue Reading

One of the things that makes legal academia so frustrating to practitioners (and possibly courts) is that much of it appears to focus on easily-researched questions, instead of the genuinely difficult questions that would yield some practical use.

Case in point: there is remarkably little scholarship that takes on the question of how litigators actually litigate cases. And that’s what makes Lynn Lopucki’s and Walter Weyrauch’s 2000 article A Theory of Legal Strategy so unique. Almost no other legal article has attempted to take on the question of how strategy fits into the development of the common law. … Continue Reading

Earlier this year, it became clear that the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules is considering possible amendments to Rule 23. As Tony Lathrop’s post summarizes, the “front burner” issues at the moment largely concern class action settlements, focusing in on possible limits to cy pres relief and greater clarity on what Rule 23(e)’s “fair, reasonable, and adequate” criteria mean.

I think these are great ideas for possible amendments.  I’m certainly on record about the possible problems that arise from cy pres relief, and I’ve also written about the proliferation of settlement standards that arise from Rule 23(e)’s vague … Continue Reading

 As it turns out, Chicago poet and journalist Carl Sandburg is one of–if not the–first person to be credited with an old piece of advice for lawyers:

If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.

As well as sourcing Sandburg’s quote, in his article for the journal American Politics Research, Law, Fact, and the Threat of Reversal From Above, University of Alabama professor Joseph L. Smith uses the latest in computer content … Continue Reading

 When the Rules Committee amended Rule 23 in 1998 to allow for interlocutory appeals, it made them discretionary. The result, as I’ve written before, is that class action litigators have had to make these appeals attractive to appellate courts in much the same way that appellate litigators must prepare certiorari petitions

But, as it turns out, there is one way for plaintiffs at least to ensure that an appellate court hears a denial of certification.

In Berger v. Home Depot USA, Inc., No. 11-55592, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2059 (9th Cir. Feb. 3, 2014), the plaintiff had … Continue Reading