Category Archives: Federal Class Action

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Faulty Damages Model Leads to Partial Decertification

On November 6, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part defendant Dole’s motion for decertification in Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC.  In May of 2014, the court had granted certification of classes under both Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) … Continue Reading

Removing All Doubt: The First Circuit Clarifies the Conditions Triggering the 30-Day Removal Window When the Earlier, Initial Pleading Does Not Disclose Grounds for Removal

In Romulus v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 14-1937, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 20548 (1st Cir. Oct. 24, 2014), the First Circuit Court of Appeals clarified the conditions triggering a defendant’s 30-day window to remove a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, when the earlier, initial pleading did … Continue Reading

Courts Still Searching for Sweet Spot in “Evaporated Cane Juice” Cases: Confusion Over Applicability of Primary Jurisdiction to ECJ Claims Continues

May 2014 was an active month for evaporated cane juice (“ECJ”) litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  Six courts issued opinions that involved the application of the primary jurisdiction doctrine to ECJ claims.  The primary jurisdiction doctrine allows courts to stay or dismiss a complaint without prejudice, pending the … Continue Reading

Tea Manufacturer Defeats Damages – Seeking Class Action Plaintiff in an Opinion Steeped in Comcast

In Lanovaz v. Twinings North America, Inc., 2014 WL 1652338, Case No. C-12-02646-RMW (N.D. Cal. April 24, 2014), the court granted-in-part and denied-in-part a motion for class certification in a false advertising case about tea labels.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s tea was “misbranded” because it advertised the tea as a “Natural Source of … Continue Reading

J.M. Smucker Company Gets Out of a Jam in Food Labelling Case

On April 15, 2014, in the case Caldera v. The J.M. Smucker Co., CV 12-4936-GHK, J.M. (C.D. Cal.), Smucker Company (“Defendant”) defeated the plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a case challenging the labels on Defendant’s Crisco shortening and Uncrustables food products.  The lawsuit claimed that Defendant had mislabeled its Crisco shortening with false claims … Continue Reading

Sweet(ener) Confusion: Court Divide Over Role of Primary Jurisdiction Doctrine in “Evaporated Cane Juice” Cases Grows

In Swearingen v. Santa Cruz Natural, Inc., No. C 13-04291 (N.D. Cal. April 2, 2014), Judge Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted defendant’s motion to dismiss based on the primary jurisdiction doctrine.  The court held that the determination of the issue of whether the use of the term … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Lodestar Method to Determine Attorneys’ Fees in TCPA Class Action Settlement

In Americana Art China Company, Inc. v. Foxfire Printing & Packaging, Inc., 743 F.3d 243 (7th Cir. Feb. 18, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s attorneys’ fees award in a class action settlement arising from the defendant’s faxing of thousands of unsolicited advertisements in violation of the … Continue Reading

A (POM) Wonderful Result For Consumer Class Action Defendants

On March 25, 2014, the court in In re: POM Wonderful LLC Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, Case No. ML 10-02199 DDP (C.D. Cal.), granted a motion by defendant POM Wonderful LLC (“POM”) to decertify a previously certified class of consumers who purchased certain POM juice products.  The court granted POM’s motion because plaintiff failed … Continue Reading

When 30 Days Just Isn’t Enough: The Ninth Circuit Rules that Defendants’ Right to Remove May Not be Limited to 30 Days

In Rea v. Michaels Stores, No. 14-55008, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2928 (9th Cir. Feb. 18, 2014), the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s order remanding a wage-and-hour class complaint to state court, ruling that the defendant employer’s removal of the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) was proper.  The … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Concludes That Common Issues Do Not Predominate Where Retailer’s In-Store Signs and Oral Sales Statements Place Each Putative Class Member’s Exposure to Misleading Statements in Doubt

In Berger v. Home Depot USA, Inc., Case No. 11-55592, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2059 (9th Cir. Feb. 3, 2014), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of class certification based largely on evidence that the defendant’s point-of-sale signs and oral statements supplied allegedly withheld information.  A proposed class lacks the requisite cohesion … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects Percentage Method To Determine Attorneys’ Fees In Class Action Settlement

In Collado v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Nos. 11-57013, 11-57023, 11-57030 (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 2013), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s attorneys’ fees award in a class action settlement alleging malfunctioning Toyota Prius headlights.  The Ninth Circuit held that the district court incorrectly applied federal law instead of state law … Continue Reading

Third and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals Issue TCPA Decisions

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. (“TCPA”), prohibits “robo-calls” to cell phones, text messages and “junk” faxes without prior consent. It imposes statutory penalties from $500 to $1,500 per violation, regardless of any actual damage, and is thus increasingly popular with the plaintiffs’ class action bar. Though passed in 1991, … Continue Reading

New FCC Interpretation Of “Express Consent” To Increase TCPA Class Action Liability

Plaintiffs frequently sue businesses in class actions for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (the “TCPA”). The TCPA generally prohibits calls and text messages to cell phones using automated systems or artificial or pre-recorded voice unless the consumer gives “prior express consent.” The TCPA imposes statutory penalties of … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Holds That The TCPA Prohibits Automated Calls Even When They Do Not Refer To Any Specific Good Or Service

In Chesbro v. Best Buy Stores, LP, No. 11-35784, 2012 WL 4902839 (9th Cir. Oct. 17, 2012), the Ninth Circuit reversed the Western District of Washington’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Best Buy Stores, LP (“Best Buy”) on claims that Best Buy placed automated telephone calls to plaintiff Michael Chesbro’s home in violation … Continue Reading

The Federal Arbitration Act Preempts Any Right To A Class Action Under State Law

The California Court of Appeal recently held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts any statutory right to a class action under the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). See Caron v. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC et al., — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2012 WL 2579662 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.). In doing so, the court applied the … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit Again Follows Concepcion And Enforces Consumer Arbitrations

On March 16, 2012, the Ninth Circuit followed the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in AT&T Mobility, Inc. v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), and held that the Federal Arbitration Act (the FAA) preempts state law refusing to enforce arbitration provisions with class action waivers. See Marygrace Coneff v. AT&T Corp., — F.3d —-, … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Denies Class Certification of UCL Cause of Action Despite Tobacco II’s Holding

In Avritt v. Reliastar Life Ins., __ F.3d__ (8th Circ. 8-12-2010), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed an order denying class certification of a putative class of California annuity investors who were allegedly misled by the defendant. The opinion re-affirms the federal rules that require the plaintiff to show that it can prove reliance and … Continue Reading

The United States Supreme Court Rules That Class Arbitration Is Improper When Parties To An Arbitration Agreement Have Not Explicitly Authorized Class Arbitration

On April 27, 2010, in a closely watched antitrust case with the potential for broad impacts on class action arbitrations, the United States Supreme Court considered the issue “whether imposing class arbitration on parties whose arbitration clauses are ‘silent’ on that issue is consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et … Continue Reading

California’s Fourth Appellate District Holds That Named Plaintiffs In Putative Class Actions Alleging Misrepresentation And Deception Under The UCL’S “Unlawful” Prong Must Plead Actual Reliance

On April 19, 2010, California’s Fourth Appellate District decided two companion cases – Durell v. Sharp Healthcare, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2010 WL 1529322, Cal.App. 4 Dist., April 19, 2010 (NO. D054261) and Hale v. Sharp Healthcare, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2010 WL 1529329, Cal.App. 4 Dist., April 19, 2010 (NO. D054637) – that mark a potentially … Continue Reading

Fourth District Court of Appeal Confirms that the No “Pick Off” Rule Applies to a Potential UCL Class Action

In Wallace v. GEICO General Insurance Company (April 19, 2010) __ Cal.App.4th __, the Fourth District Court of Appeal confirmed that a defendant cannot “pick off” a potential class representative by tendering payment of their claim in a class action alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq. … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Makes CAFA Jurisdiction Stick

On April 21, 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that a putative class action removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) does not lose federal jurisdiction just because the court denies class certification. The case, United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial & Service Workers International Union, … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Consolidated Class Actions Under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Based On Faulty Survey Evidence

In DeKoven v. Plaza Associates (No. 09-2016) and Kubert v. Plaza Associates (No. 09-2249), which were consolidated for decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of class actions brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regarding allegedly confusing dunning letters. In both cases, the District Court found that … Continue Reading
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