2013 did not offer the blockbuster docket in front of the Supreme Court that 2011 did, but that didn’t stop the Court from issuing a number of opinions whose effects will be felt for some time to come. In addition, a number of other courts took bold steps to either support or constrain class action practice. The key trends coming out of 2013: watch out for predominance, and watch out for tricky settlement provisions. Also, pay attention to the complaint; key flaws can still lurk in there.
Just about anyone who owns a printer has strong opinions on toner cartridges. An enterprising group of plaintiffs’ lawyers sought to capitalize on consumer annoyance with printer cartridges by filing three class actions in the Northern District of California against toner manufacturer Hewlett Packard.
Their cases didn’t go so well. Some of the complaints were dismissed on the pleadings. They lost a bid at class certification. And trial court called their evidence of causation and injury "weak." These setbacks must have been particularly difficult because these plaintiffs’ counsel had spent a great deal of time and money imposing discovery … Continue Reading