A busy travel and work schedule this week means that today, I’m just going to point you to three cases with lessons class-action lawyers should be aware of.  So, when defending your class actions, don’t forget:

  • When removing under CAFA, pay attention to continuing damages.  In Leslie v. Conesco Life Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130508 (S.D. Fla. Sep. 13, 2012), the Southern District of Florida was willing to count continuing damages up through the projected trial date in determining whether the plaintiff met the $5 million amount-in-controversy requirement. 
  • Plaintiffs must prove arbitration would be too

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The facts underlying the allegations in Boeynaems v. L.A. Fitness Int’l, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115272 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 16, 2012) are hardly remarkable. The plaintiffs allege that they signed up for gym memberships at a chain gym with no problem, but encountered serious difficulties when they later tried to cancel, a fact pattern that was old when it appeared on 1990s sitcoms NewsRadio and Friends.

And the fact pattern leading to plaintiffs’ motion to compel documents that forms the basis of this opinion is unremarkable as well. The plaintiffs sought sweeping discovery. The defendants, seeking to … Continue Reading

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

George Smiley is the rotund, perpetually cuckolded, but brilliant spymaster at the heart of many of John Le Carre’s finest Cold War spy novels. He’s on his way to becoming a cinematic icon, too, having now been played (in separate films) by Rupert Davies, Alex Guinness, Denholm Elliot, and now Gary Oldman (in a performance that rivals Guinness’s finest), in the excellent recent release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Without spoiling its plot, I will mention that by the end of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the Circus (the British Secret Service) … Continue Reading

Since I first wrote about fighting fishing expeditions, Google has sent a number of readers to the blog looking for “fishing expeditions discovery” or “deny class certification discovery abuse.” (It also sent one reader looking for “botulism,” which I’m proud to say is not available here.) Clearly, fighting fishing expeditions in class actions is an important topic to defense lawyers. And the good news is, there’s more than one way to do so. For example, in addition to objecting to the relevance of some of plaintiff’s document requests or interrogatories, one can also object that the plaintiff is not Continue Reading

It’s no secret that discovery in class actions can be abused to serve goals that have nothing to do with the merits of the case. In some cases, plaintiffs will use the threat of extensive discovery to leverage settlements. In others, plaintiffs may use their proto-class status as excuse for a fishing expedition for new clients or causes of action. It may seem like there’s not much a defendant can do to combat these abuses, but a 30-year-old case – Oppenheimer Fund v. Sanders – offers one possible solution.

In Oppenheimer, the named plaintiffs sued Oppenheimer … Continue Reading