Sometimes settlement with a putative class of nationwide consumers is the best option for resolution. However, since the initial ruling of the Ninth Circuit in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Econ. Litig., the mechanism to go about doing so has been in flux. On June 6, 2019, the full en banc Ninth Circuit finally answered class action practitioners’ questions and affirmed the district court’s June 2015 final settlement approval order and certification of a nationwide class of consumers. The decision unravels the prior ruling of a divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, which previously vacated the class … Continue Reading
Just a brief update on the 9th Circuit’s most controversial class-action case of the year. As expected, the proponents of the settlement that was rejected have appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit en banc.
What is slightly less expected is the alliance of interests that have filed amicus briefs. As Law360 reports, they include both automotive trade groups and consumer advocacy groups. (Unfortunately, the article does not include links to the amicus briefs.)
The plaintiffs’ advocacy groups have a clear cut argument: they have always asked for a minimal predominance requirement. Consumer groups and pro-manufacturing groups, … Continue Reading
Earlier this week, in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Efficiency Litig., the Ninth Circuit vacated a nationwide class action settlement, ruling that the lower court had abused its discretion by not considering whether the variations in the consumer-protection laws of the fifty states might predominate over common issues in the case. The ruling (by Judge Ikuta) was controversial from the start, arriving with an impassioned dissent from Judge Nguyen. And it’s that controversy that makes this opinion worth watching.
The facts of the case will sound familiar to experienced litigators. In the wake of an EPA investigation, several … Continue Reading
Ah, class decertification in district court…the rarely glimpsed, late-harvest victory that comparatively few class action defense counsel can claim to have tasted. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California recently delivered one such victory for the 2016 vintage, decertifying a plaintiff class he originally certified in 2012 in a wage-and-hour litigation against auto parts retailer AutoZone, Inc. In the course of reaching that decision, Judge Breyer’s 49-page order also offers further insights into how the Supreme Court’s decisions in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes are … Continue Reading
Cosmetics giant Maybelline markets Superstay 24 lipstick, which is supposed to be more comfortable, withstand heat and humidity, and go 24 hours without needing a transfer. Some customers decided that, despite the advertising, the lipstick did not last a full 24 hours without transfer; so they sued Maybelline claiming that it had violated various California fraud statutes.
As many lawyers know, California’s consumer fraud statutes have lesser reliance standards. For example, reliance is judged on an objective “reasonable consumer” standard that means plaintiffs often do not have to demonstrate individualized reliance to get a class certified.
So faced with … Continue Reading
For some time, academics have been decrying the demise of the class action, arguing that the Supreme Court’s precedent makes it harder than ever to certify a class under Rule 23. And yet, as one practitioner I know observed, plaintiffs keep filing the things. And quite a few courts keep certifying them.
Now, however, at least one federal district court appears to be listening to the academy.
The case, In re Kosmos Energy Ltd. Secs. Litig., No. 3:12-CV-373-B, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36365 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 19, 2014), appears to be an unremarkable stock-drop case, the exact kind that … Continue Reading
Judge Richard Posner has always been an independent thinker, something he has proven in the last year as, despite his economically conservative credentials (which would lead one to presume a possible defense bias), he authored a number of arguably pro-plaintiff class certification opinions, particularly his twin opinions in the controversial case Butler v. Sears Roebuck & Co. (2012) (2013) And so it is noteworthy that, despite his ruling in Sears, he has also authored the opinion in Parko v. Shell Oil Co., No. 13-8023, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1018 (7th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014).… Continue Reading
At this point, I’m well aware that I tend to sound like an old crank when reviewing class action scholarship; much of it repeats the same old stuff, predicts the imminent demise of the class action in its current form, and looks at the same Supreme Court cases instead of digging into where the real action happens. And that is why I am happy to report that this year, there were quite a few articles that did take different approaches to various problems in class actions. Yes, we still had some of the same Supreme Court rehashes, but even some … Continue Reading
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.