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Trent is co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Products & Retail industry team. He focuses on defending complex class actions with an emphasis on product class actions, public and private nuisance litigation, environmental contamination suits, and food, cosmetic, and supplement labeling (including CBD) and safety issues.

On August 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated a class-certification order on a Rule 23(f) appeal after sua sponte holding that the named plaintiff had no standing to sue.  The case is yet another example of how federal courts closely examine standing following the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, — U.S. —, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021): “Every class member must have Article III standing in order to recover individual damages.”  Id. at 2208.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Sua Sponte Vacates Class-Certification Order for Lack of Standing

During a span of less than two months, a group of Arkansas lawyers filed 22 class action suits in Lonoke County, Arkansas, alleging violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Here are five key items to know:
Continue Reading Manufacturers and Retailers Beware: New Warranty Class Actions

On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, the Eleventh Circuit confirmed the groundbreaking decision that incentive payments given to a named plaintiff in a class action are improper by denying a petition for rehearing en banc that had been pending for almost 22 months.  See Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, No. 18-12344, “Slip Op.” (11th Cir.

In Drazen v. Pinto, –F.4th–, 2022 WL 2963470 (July 27, 2022), the Eleventh Circuit vacated a district court’s decision to certify a class under Rule 23 and approve the class settlement because the class included members who lacked Article III standing.

This case involves three consolidated class actions against GoDaddy.com, each of which alleges the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”) by using a prohibited automatic telephone dialing system to make unsolicited contact with plaintiffs through calls and texts to market its services and products. Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Vacates Class Certification and Settlement Based on Lack of Standing for Class Members

Appellee Thomas Fox and others failed to pay their delinquent property taxes in certain Michigan counties and had their property foreclosed on and sold. However, the counties kept all of the sale proceeds and not just the money that was owed. In some cases, the counties kept tens of thousands of dollars beyond what was owed. Therefore, Fox brought a class action seeking recovery of the surplus funds.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Addresses Pre-Certification and Post-Certification Engagement of Potential Class Members in Class Actions

The 7th Circuit recently vacated a 25% attorneys’ fee award in In re Stericycle Securities Litigation, No. 20-2055, 2022 WL 1564997, at *1–14 (7th Cir. May 18, 2022).  The Court’s reasoning focused on the previous litigation against the defendant.

Years before this litigation, a former Stericycle employee brought a qui tam action under the False Claims Act with similar claims.  Various settlements with governments and private customers followed.Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Vacates 25% Attorneys’ Fee Award

The 7th Circuit in Schutte v. Ciox Health, LLC., construed the Local Controversy Exception to the Class Action Fairness Act.[1]  CAFA’s Local Controversy Exception applies, in pertinent part, if “during the 3-year period preceding the filing of that class action, no other class action has been filed asserting the same or similar factual allegations against any of the defendants, on behalf of the same or other persons.”[2]  The Court interpreted this requirement broadly, finding that even when cases with different legal theories had been filed in different states, courts may refuse to remand if there are “the same or similar factual allegations” in those cases.  There are three other situations that trigger the Local Controversy Exception[3] but the court did not address them.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Construes CAFA Exception for the First Time

A recent Ninth Circuit decision—In re Cathode Ray Tube Antitrust Litig., 20-15697, 2021 WL 4306895 (9th Cir. Sept. 22, 2021)—that prevented a group of plaintiffs from challenging the approval of a settlement award in a price-fixing case might be on its way to the Supreme Court.   Although non-precedential, the case reflects continuing uncertainty as to the status of intervention rights in class settlements.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Case Reflects Split Judicial Landscape Regarding Intervenors’ Appellate Rights in Class Settlements

In Ruhlen v. Holiday Haven Homeowners, Inc., 11th Cir. No. 21-90022, 2022 WL 701622 (11th Cir. Mar. 9, 2022), the Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for permission to appeal a district court’s sua sponte remand of a case to state court.

Initially, this case was filed in Florida state court by a group of current and former mobile homeowners and their homeowners’ association. The basis for plaintiffs’ claims were violations of the Florida Antitrust Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Plaintiffs characterized their suit as a representative action under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.222, which allows a mobile homeowner’s association to bring a class action suit in a representative capacity.Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Denies Petition to Appeal a Sua Sponte Remand of a “Class Action”