Back at it Again (with the Standing Opinions): Seventh Circuit Reiterates Article III Standing in Data Breach Class Actions

On July 20, 2015, the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, 794 F. 3d 688 (7th Circ. 2015), which immediately became the low-water mark for Article III standing in data breach cases.  In short, Remijas became the first Circuit decision to expressly and expansively recognize that risk of future injury and time and money spent protecting against identity theft as a result of a data breach were sufficient to confer Article III standing.

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Attacking Class Action Allegations On The Pleadings Can Be A Successful Strategy

Not all class action allegations are created equal. Certain types of claims are more likely to be amenable to class treatment – generally those involving uniform policies that result in uniform injuries; other claims seem destined for individualized treatment – generally those involving a variety of unpredictable factors that determine liability as to each putative class member.  And some class claims, due to their very nature, are so individualized that the class allegations should be dismissed on the pleadings.  Indeed, the California court of appeal recently reminded us that some class allegations deserve dismissal on demurrer.  The case is Schermer v. Tatum, D067807 (Cal. App. 4th Dis. Mar. 18, 2016). 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 Supreme Court, however, left open the question of what happens when a defendant follows through with its offer by tendering complete individual relief, depositing the monetary relief with the court, and moving for entry of judgment. 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 otherwise enhance gameplay are, in effect, wagers insofar as other in-game materials can subsequently be “won” with those items.  None of the plaintiffs have prevailed in these recent cases. 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, voiceprints, etc.) to retain a specific written policy governing data retention and to collect written consent from consumers before collecting biometric information. 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 resolves a vigorously contested question of constitutional law that has been the subject of great dispute among federal Courts of Appeals for the last decade—whether a Rule 68 offer of judgment for complete relief deprives a court of Article III jurisdiction to hear only a “case or controversy.”  In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that a live case and controversy still exists when a plaintiff refuses to accept an offer of judgment.  In so holding, however, the Supreme Court suggested that it might reach a different decision if a defendant deposits funds sufficient to satisfy the plaintiff’s individual claims, and then obtains a judgment from the trial court in this amount.         Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds California Court of Appeal’s Interpretation of Arbitration Clause Preempted by FAA

In DirecTV v. Imburgia, No. 14-462, 2015 U.S. LEXIS 7999 (December 14, 2015) the United States Supreme Court reversed a California Court of Appeal decision interpreting, and invalidating, an arbitration clause containing a class arbitration waiver, holding that the Court of Appeal’s interpretation was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (the “FAA”).  The Court then ordered the Court of Appeal to enforce the arbitration agreement at issue.  The Court’s opinion, which was decided 6-3 with two dissenting opinions, reinforces earlier Supreme Court precedent holding that state courts cannot avoid the preemptive effect of the FAA by applying facially neutral state contract principles in a way that disfavors arbitration.  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 the UCL actually means, and how to appropriately calculate it.  In doing so, the court provided much needed guidance on these issues and (assuming the decision is affirmed) largely eliminated the “full refund” theory of restitutionary recovery in all but the most extreme UCL and FAL actions. 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 used to effectively terminate class claims, (ii) whether a class action can proceed even though the plaintiff representative has incurred no concrete, actual damage, and (iii) the validity of statistical modeling to substantiate alleged class-wide damages claims.  Continue Reading

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