Massachusetts has seen a small uptick in class actions in the last eighteen months, particularly ones that cite Mass Gen. Law Ch. 93A, Masschusetts’s consumer protection law. David G. Thomas, James P. Ponsetto, and Michael E. Pastore of Greenberg Traurig have an explanation. In their Law360 article Behind The Class Action Surge Against Mass. Retailers  takes an in-depth look at a line of cases originated by the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in Tyler v. Michaels Stores Inc., 464 Mass. 492 (2013). These class actions challenge the practice of including ZIP codes in the information that retailers collect … Continue Reading

Paul Karlsgodt (of the longstanding and outstanding Class Action Blawg) has published an article with the University of Denver Law Review’s Online Edition: Statutory Penalties and Class Actions: Social Justice or Legalized Extortion? Statutory Penalties is an excellent introduction to the problem of defending class actions based on statutory violations, and Karlsgodt’s focus on privacy litigation is a welcome one.

Among the most useful parts of his article, Karlsgodt provides a handy summary of the "annihilation argument" and how it’s currently received by the courts.

One argument raised in early class actions involving potentially annihilating statutory damages liability

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Classwide settlements are different from regular settlements in a few important ways. Most notably, they require approval from the court, which must ensure that the settlement is "fair, reasonable, and adequate." That extra step raises an important question, when does a classwide settlement bind the parties: when it’s signed, or when it’s approved? Earlier this year, the Third Circuit provided an answer in Ehrheart v. Verizon Wireless.

The case involves the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), which required merchants to obscure credit-card information on receipts. The statute was intended to prevent identity theft, but proved … Continue Reading

In the summer of 2007, Julie Grimes went to the movies. And, presumably to avoid the line at the box-office register, she used the self-service kiosk. But when she looked at her receipt, she noticed that the machine had printed more than the last five digits of her credit card. For most patrons, this would be unremarkable. For some careful patrons, it might be grounds for shredding the receipt instead of just throwing it away. For Ms. Grimes, it was a violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), and a class action lawsuit, Grimes v. Rave Continue Reading