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Total Articles: 13

Fifth Circuit Weighs in on Personal Jurisdiction and Certification Issues in Rule 23 Class Actions

The application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017), to class actions has led to much confusion and an ever-widening circuit split. In Bristol-Myers, a mass action, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a California state court could not exercise jurisdiction over a non-California defendant with respect to claims of plaintiffs who did not reside in California and conduct that did not occur in California. The extent to which this holding applies to class and collective actions has divided federal district courts and courts of appeals.

Supreme Court Rules 14-Day Time Limit to Appeal Class Decertification Is “Purposefully Unforgiving”

On February 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that under Rule 23(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), a petition for permission to appeal an order decertifying a class must be filed within 14 days from the date the district court issued its order.

Criticizing Lower Court, Third Circuit Reverses Class Certification in Suit Alleging Pay Violations

A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit has struck down U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab’s decision granting class certification in a suit brought by mortgage loan officers claiming they were denied overtime pay by their employer. Reinig v. RBS Citizens, NA, No. 17-3464 (3d Cir. Dec. 31, 2018).

Ninth Circuit Permits Use of “Inadmissible” Expert Testimony for Class Certification Purposes

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just denied a request to review en banc a panel ruling that authorizes trial courts to consider evidence that would be inadmissible at trial when deciding whether a class may be certified (Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center (D.C. No. 5:14-cv-00985-PSG-JPR)). The decision was filed on Thursday, November 1 over a sharply critical dissenting opinion authored by Judge Carlos Bea. Bea, who was joined by four of his colleagues, wrote that the majority’s decision “involves a question of exceptional importance and is plainly wrong.”

Truckers’ $2.35 Million Dollar Class Settlement Vacated Due to District Court’s Cursory Analysis

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently vacated a Utah district court’s finding that a class of truckers satisfied Rule 23 for purposes of settling two wage-hour actions due to a cursory review below, setting aside a multi-million dollar settlement and remanding the case for further proceedings.

Federal Judge Finds J.B. Hunt Compensation System Too Varied To Sustain Class Certification

J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, recently prevailed on a motion to decertify a class of around 11,000 current and former truck drivers, just six weeks before trial.

Ninth Circuit Concludes that Admissibility is Not a Factor in Deciding Class Certification

On May 3, 2018, in Sali v. Corona Medical Center, et al., Case Number 15-56460, a putative wage-hour class action, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that evidence does not have to be admissible for it to be considered in support of class certification. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the district court erred by striking a declaration at the class certification stage because district courts cannot “decline to consider evidence solely on the basis that the evidence is inadmissible at trial.” Id. at 10.

Judge Decertifies Class Based on Plaintiffs’ Differing Accounts of Their Responsibilities

Those who follow developments in wage and hour class actions know that challenges to the exempt status of assistant managers are quite common.

Think A Class Is Certified? Not So Fast... Second Circuit Affirms Decertification of Class Even After Jury Verdict, Overturning Jury Award

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently held that district courts can decertify a class after a jury verdict but before entry of final judgment. In Mazzei v. Money Store, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12994 (2d Cir. July 15, 2016), the appellate court affirmed the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York’s post-jury-verdict decertification of a class of home loan borrowers, thereby overturning a $55 million jury award.

Employers Gain Support For Additional Defense to Class Actions After Court Denies Class Certification for Union Members in Light of “Individualized Questions” Necessary To Resolve Claims

Employers recently gained support for one of their defenses to class claims, and in a case against a union no less, after a federal court in Illinois found that union members’ claims may require individualized questions and therefore were not appropriate for class treatment. See Riffey v. Rauner, et al., 10-cv-02477 (N.D. Ill. June 7, 2016).

Facebook Files Motion to Dismiss Birthday Text Messages Class Action

Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) recently filed a motion to dismiss class action claims alleging that Facebook sent unsolicited text messages to users containing birthday announcements in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The TCPA generally restricts telephone solicitations (i.e., telemarketing) and the use of automated telephone equipment, and limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages and fax machines.

Upcoming Amendments to the FRCP And Implications On Class Action Defense Costs

On December 15, 2015, several amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are scheduled to take effect, including one which may assist employers to reduce the cost of defending class actions. The scope of permissible discovery under Rule 26 will no longer be defined as “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Amended Rule 26(b)(1) will instead require discovery to be proportional to the needs of the case. Parties may obtain discovery that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, with consideration of the following five factors: (1) the importance of the issues at stake in the action; (2) the parties’ relative access to relevant information; (3) the parties’ resources; (4) the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues; and (5) whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.

When It Comes To Pre-Certification Class Discovery, Don’t Give Away (More Than) The Store

Many employers who are familiar with class actions know that merits-based discovery is generally impermissible before a class has been certified. As a result, these employers often push back – without much forethought – on merits-based discovery that they consider to be “invasive” during the pre-certification stage.
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