Category Archives: Consumer

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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

Discover Bank Is Dead: The U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Federal Law Preempts State Laws That Obstruct The Enforcement Of Class Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements

On April 27, 2011, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act “preempts California’s rule classifying most collective arbitration waivers in consumer contracts as unconscionable.” AT&T v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. ____, majority at 5, 18 (2011). The Court referred to this rule as the “Discover Bank rule,” after the California Supreme Court’s decision in … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rejects the Use of “Aggregate Proof” of Causation in a Putative Consumer Class Action

In UFCW Local 1776 v. Eli Lilly & Co., No. 09-0222-CV, 2010 WL 3516183 (2d Cir. Sept. 10, 2010), the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York certifying a class of third party payors (“TPPs”) consisting of … Continue Reading

The Second District Court of Appeal Applies the “Filed Rate Doctrine” to California Insurance Ratemaking, and Holds that the Use of Approved Insurance Rates Cannot Create Tort Liability Against an Insurer in a Class Action

In MacKay v. Superior Court (October 6, 2010) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ the Second District Court of Appeal threw out a class action challenging an insurer’s rating practices on the ground that California law prohibits insureds from challenging rates approved by the California Department of Insurance (“DOI”) through a civil action. Writing for the court, Justice Croskey … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Holds That Plaintiffs Alleging Respa Violations Under Section 8 Need Not Show An Overcharge To Have Article III Standing To Sue

In Alston v. Countrywide Financial Corp., 2009 WL 3448264 (3d Cir. October 28, 2009), the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit confronted the issue of whether consumer plaintiffs alleging a violation of section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), codified in relevant part at 12 U.S.C. § 2607(d)(2), … Continue Reading

The Recent Assault on Consumer Arbitration Clauses

After years of growth, the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), and numerous court decisions emphasizing the strong public policy in favor of arbitration as a cost-effective means of resolving disputes, arbitration now appears to be under siege—particularly in the consumer context.  Many consumer contracts, including those involving cellular phones, credit cards, and other consumer finance products, … Continue Reading
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