Category Archives: Consumer

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Mooting Class Actions by Offer of Judgment – Episode 2: The Ninth Circuit Strikes Back

In Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (Jan. 20, 2016), the Supreme Court resolved a split among courts and held that an unaccepted settlement offer of complete individual relief does not moot the plaintiff’s lawsuit.  However, the Court expressly left open the question of “whether the result would be different if a defendant deposits … Continue Reading

Mooting Plaintiff’s Class Action Even After Plaintiff Refuses An Offer Of Judgment

For years, litigants have battled over whether a defendant’s offer of judgment, which completely satisfies the plaintiff’s individual claim, can moot a class action. In Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663 (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that no case is mooted when a plaintiff refuses to accept an offer of judgment.  The … Continue Reading

The Game Goes On: Sheppard Mullin Obtains Dismissal With Prejudice of Class Action Alleging Social Gaming Micro-transactions Constitute Illegal Gambling

Another lawsuit alleging illegal gambling in a social game has been dismissed.  Over the last year, social gaming mobile applications have come under attack from the Plaintiffs’ bar as gambling in disguise.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys theorize that in-app micro-transactions where consumers pay cash for virtual items (i.e., gold coins or gems) designed to speed up or … Continue Reading

Tag, You’re It: Biometric Information Privacy Act Class Action Against Shutterfly Moves Past 12(b)(6)

Over the last six months, at least four putative class actions have been filed under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”)—an obscure Illinois statute passed about seven years ago to regulate the collection and use of consumers’ biometric information.  In relevant part, the BIPA requires entities in possession of biometric information (i.e., retina scans, fingerprints, … Continue Reading

Not Taking “Yes” For An Answer: U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Unaccepted Offer Of Complete Individual Relief Does Not Moot Plaintiff’s Individual Or Class Action Claim

On January 20, 2016, in a highly anticipated decision (see October 27, 2015 blog) that will have implications for class action practice nationwide, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an unaccepted offer of judgment sufficient to completely satisfy an individual claim does not moot that claim or any class claim. The Supreme Court’s decision partially … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs’ Full Refund Theory of Restitution Under California’s Unfair Competition Law Goes Up in Smoke in Latest Tobacco II Opinion

The long saga of In re Tobacco Cases II recently produced yet another appellate opinion addressing California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), False Advertising Law (“FAL”), and the remedies they provide.  This time, in In re Tobacco Cases II, 240 Cal. App. 4th 779 (Sept. 28, 2015) (“Tobacco II”), the appellate court considered what “restitution” under … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Takes On Class Actions, Again

Over recent years the United States Supreme Court has waded deep into the waters of class certification, significantly altering the playing field for class action claims.  As the Supreme Court continues its 2015 session, it takes on issues that may continue to alter the landscape, including (i) whether settlement with a class representative can be … Continue Reading

The Pitfalls of Ascertaining Ascertainability: Seventh Circuit Declines to Adopt Heightened Threshold Requirement for Class Actions

Although not explicitly stated in the text of Rule 23, for several decades courts have held that a putative class must be clearly defined and based on objective criteria as prerequisites to class certification.  Courts and commentators alike have referred to this threshold showing as the “ascertainability” requirement without a common understanding of what exactly … Continue Reading

Barbarians at the Gate: Seventh Circuit Finds Article III Standing for Data Breach Class Actions

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Clapper v. Amnesty Int’l USA, 133 S. Ct. 1138, 1147 (2013), data breach class actions were largely considered dead in the water.  The overwhelming majority of courts, relying heavily on Clapper, dismiss data breach actions for the simple reason that until a consumer suffers actual identity … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Reiterates that Misrepresentation Must be Made to All Class Members

On June 23, 2015, the Ninth Circuit in Cabral v. Supple LLC, — Fed. Appx. –, 2015 WL 3855142 (9th Cir. June 23, 2015) placed a significant hurdle in the path of false advertising class actions.  Specifically, the Court held that in class actions “based upon alleged misrepresentations in advertising and the like,” in order … Continue Reading

Hold the Phone: Judge Holds Dish Network on the Line for Tens of Millions of Calls, but Leaves Silver Lining for TCPA Defendants

On December 12, 2014, Judge Sue E. Myerscough issued an epic 238-page order granting in part and denying in part cross summary judgment motions filed in United States of America, et al. v. Dish Network, L.L.C. (“Dish Network”). United States v. Dish Network, L.L.C., No. 09-3073, 2014 WL 7013223 (C.D. Ill. Dec. 12, 2014). Despite … Continue Reading

Everyone Gets To See The Evidence: The California Court Of Appeal Rejects an Attorneys’ Fee Award Based On The Trial Court’s In Camera Review Of Class Counsel’s Billing Records

In Concepcion v. Amscan Holdings, Inc. et al., — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2014 WL 595822 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. Feb. 18, 2014) the California Court of Appeal rejected class counsel’s fee award where class counsel’s billing records were provided to the trial court for review, but were not provided to the defendant’s counsel.… Continue Reading

Comity and Commonality: A Tale of Two Identical Class Actions Brought By Forum-Shopping Plaintiffs’ Counsel

In Murray v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., No. C 09-5744, 2014 WL 563264 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 12, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied a motion for class certification that was practically identical to a motion brought in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that was … 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

Suits Brought by State AGs Alone Not “Mass Actions”: SCOTUS Sides With 4th, 7th, and 9th Circuits in Clarifying CAFA’s Mass Action Requirements

In Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp., No. 12-1036, 2014 U.S. LEXIS 645 (Jan. 14, 2014) the Supreme Court of the United States addressed the circuit split that arose after the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal’s holding in Louisiana ex rel. Caldwell v. Allstate Ins. Co., 536 F.3d 418 (5th Cir. 2008) that … Continue Reading

CFPB Report Targets Arbitration Clauses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”) is a new federal agency responsible for regulating consumer financial products and services.  On December 12, 2013, the CFPB released a report on the use of arbitration clauses with class action waivers contained in credit card, prepaid card, and checking account contracts.  The Report is part of a … 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

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

The Ninth Circuit Applies the Brakes to Runaway Nationwide Class Actions

In the recently published decision Mazza v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., No. 09-55376 (9th Cir. 1-12-12), the Ninth Circuit reversed the certification of a nationwide class composed of consumers seeking relief under California’s consumer protection laws. In doing so, the court significantly decreased the viability of such nationwide classes, particularly when the plaintiff seeks … Continue Reading

ZIPped Back Up: Williams-Sonoma Gains Federal Dismissal Of New Jersey Consumer Privacy Claim in Feder

In Feder v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey joined the New Jersey Superior Court in weighing in on the issue of whether a retailer violates consumer privacy state law by requesting a customer’s zip code at the point of purchase.  Feder was brought by the same … Continue Reading

UnZIPped in New Jersey?

A New Jersey state trial court has initially weighed in on the issue of whether a retailer violates state law by requesting a customer’s zip code at the point of purchase.  In a case fashioned after the California Supreme Court’s decision in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma, 51 Cal.4th 524 (Feb. 10, 2011), New Jersey Superior Court … Continue Reading
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