Last week, there were two appellate opinions, one from the Seventh Circuit and one from the Tenth, that are worth some attention. They’re worth discussing together as well, because while only one is really helpful for defendants, both discuss different conceptions of how to argue comity in class actions.

The first is Smentek v. Dart (7th Cir. 2012). Smentek was a class action filed on behalf of Illinois prisoners who had been denied dental care in violation of the due process clause. It was the third of its kind. How did that happen? In the first two class actions, various … Continue Reading

Today’s opinion is a short one from the Seventh Circuit, but a very useful one for defendants nonetheless. Keeling v. Esurance Insurance Company was a class action filed against automobile insurer Esurance (created of the popular advertising icon Erin Esurance) that alleged that it sold a series worthless insurance policies in Illinois. Esurance removed to federal court, and a trial court in the Southern District of Illinois remanded, because the dispute did not meet the $5 million amount in controversy requirement. Since policies at issue had only collected 613,894 in premiums, the trial court reasoned it was "legally impossible" … Continue Reading

I don’t often rush to post news of a new opinion, but when I open my inbox to find multiple emails telling me something new and big has happened, that’s a different story. And yesterday, I had a number of people telling me about a new opinion out of the Seventh Circuit: In re Aqua Dots Products Liability Litigation.

Russell Jackson wrote about this case last year, when the district court issued its opinion. The case concerned a child’s toy called Aqua Dots, which was basically colored beads that, when you added water, would fuse together into whatever design … Continue Reading

Two cases in the past few years involved a similar issue, but opposite outcomes. In the first, Murray v. GMAC Corp., the defendant argued that a family that had brought fifty Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits were "professional plaintiffs," and therefore inadequate to represent a class.  The Seventh Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Easterbrook, held that that the plaintiffs’ "professional" status did not disqualify them from being adequate class plaintiffs. By contrast, in Gordon v. Virtumondo, Inc., the Ninth Circuit held that an individual plaintiff who set up an email account in order to collect emails … Continue Reading