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.
Going through bankruptcy is traumatic enough; doing so and still having your credit report still list your discharged debts as "delinquent" is enough to drive some people to litigation. And that’s how several credit agencies found themselves on the receiving end of a series of Fair Credit Reporting Act class actions.
In this case, the defendants settled, offering the plaintiffs injunctive relief and some pro-rated monetary relief, as well as paying attorneys fees and some incentive awards for the named plaintiffs.
Today’s case, Espenscheid v. DirectSat USA, LLC (7th Cir. 2012) is a little tricky, procedurally. Three plaintiffs filed an FLSA class action (and collective action) against DirectSat USA, LLC. The Northern District of Illinois originally certified a class, but then decertified it, at which point the plaintiffs each settled on an individual basis.
Now, here’s the tricky part. Having settled the case, they appealed the decertification.
But wait, you ask. How could they do that? They settled their claims!
The plaintiffs’ response: the settlement agreement reserved their right to appeal. Of course, they would still face a standing problem. Since … Continue Reading