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Class Defense Blog Cutting-Edge Issues in Class Action Law and Policy

Kevin Ranlett

Kevin Ranlett

Kevin Ranlett is a partner in the firm's Supreme Court & Appellate and Consumer Litigation & Class Actions practices. He has defended businesses in dozens of complex class and representative actions in state and federal courts across the country and before the American Arbitration Association. In addition to drafting critical trial motions, Kevin has a substantial appellate practice. He has written merits or amicus briefs in appeals involving issues of class certification, arbitration, securities law, federal preemption, the Alien Tort Statute, punitive damages, and employment discrimination. He also advises businesses in drafting and enforcing consumer and employee arbitration agreements.

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Posts by Kevin Ranlett

Plaintiffs Can’t Evade Removal Under Class Action Fairness Act By Suing For Only Declaratory Relief

Posted in Motions Practice

Over the years, the plaintiffs’ bar has used a wide variety of stratagems to try to prevent defendants from removing class actions to federal court. We’ve previously blogged about several of them. A recent Eleventh Circuit decision addresses yet another page from the plaintiffs’ playbook. Defendants often can remove significant class actions under the Class… Continue Reading

Use the “Consumer” in Consumer Class Actions to Defeat Certification

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Predominance, Typicality

Plaintiffs routinely bring consumer class actions under statutes that allow only consumers—not businesses—to bring claims, or that are limited to transactions solely for personal or household purposes. See, e.g., Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693a(2); Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2606(a)(1); California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civ. Code §… Continue Reading

En Banc Ninth Circuit Will Clarify When a Subdivided Mass Action Can Be Removed Under CAFA

Posted in Motions Practice

Back in December, we blogged about two cases in the Ninth Circuit that were the latest skirmishes in the fight over whether plaintiffs can evade removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”) by artificially subdividing their mass actions. Plaintiffs have sought to make an end-run around CAFA’s provision permitting removal of mass… Continue Reading

Do Employers Have To Pay Unionized Workers For Time Spent Donning and Doffing Safety Gear? Supreme Court Says No.

Posted in Employment, U.S. Supreme Court

In recent years, one of the hottest types of collective actions against employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is what is commonly called a “donning and doffing claim”—a lawsuit for unpaid wages for time employees spent changing clothes for work, such as putting on uniforms, safety gear, and the like. In a recent… Continue Reading

Floodgates to New York Telemarketing Class Actions Under the TCPA Are Open, Says Second Circuit

Posted in Class Certification

Just in time for the holidays, the Second Circuit’s recent decision in Bank v. Independence Energy Group LLC has dropped a lump of coal in the business community’s stocking. In this case, the “lump of coal” is an open door to class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in federal courts in New York…. Continue Reading

The Fate of Hollywood Internship Programs May Rest With the Second Circuit

Posted in Employment, Predominance

Former interns used to get revenge against their employers by writing tell-all blog posts and memoirs. Now, they’re lending their names to plaintiffs’ lawyers, who then file wage-and-hour class or collective actions alleging that interns must be paid like hourly employees. The unpaid internship is among the hottest areas in wage-and-hour litigation. Two of the… Continue Reading

You’ve Settled the Class Action—Can the State AG Demand Another Payout?

Posted in Class Action Trends

One of the more alarming recent developments in the class-action arena is the increase in actions by state attorneys general that mirror private class actions. These state AG actions aren’t like the typical enforcement action, in which the government pursues claims for civil penalties that are distinct from the relief sought in the private class… Continue Reading

Video Interview: Discussing Class Actions in the Supreme Court with LXBN TV

Posted in U.S. Supreme Court

Following up on our recent coverage of Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp., my colleague Archis Parasharami had the opportunity to discuss the subject with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN. In this brief video interview, Archis discusses some of the class action issues that the Supreme Court is confronting now or may confront in the… Continue Reading

Will the En Banc Ninth Circuit Clarify When a Subdivided Mass Action Can Be Removed Under CAFA?

Posted in Motions Practice

We’ve blogged before about plaintiffs’ attempts to circumvent the “mass action” provisions in the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”), which  allow defendants to remove to federal court certain cases raising “claims of 100 or more persons that are proposed to be tried jointly.” 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11)(B)(i). To evade removal, creative plaintiffs’ lawyers… Continue Reading

Justice Alito Addresses A Federal District Judge’s Policy Of Requiring Race- and Gender-Conscious Selection of Class Counsel

Posted in Class Action Settlements, U.S. Supreme Court

For the second time in two weeks, the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in a class action case—this time, Martin v. Blessing—has garnered significant attention because of a separate statement by a Justice concerning the denial of review. In Martin, the petitioner challenged the policy of one federal judge in the Southern District of New… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski Objects to Class Settlement

Posted in Class Action Settlements

It’s always worth a look when a federal judge steps down from Olympus the bench to act as an ordinary mortal litigant.  Class action aficionados in particular should not  miss Alison Frankel’s report for Reuters, discussing a remarkable objection by Chief Judge Kozinksi and his wife to approval of a class settlement in a case in which he happens to be a class member.

Upcoming Webinar on New TCPA Rules

Posted in Class Action Trends

Last month, the FCC’s new rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for consent telemarketing calls went into effect.  (We’ve previously discussed those rules on this blog.)  On Wednesday (November 13), I’ll be co-presenting a 90-minute CLE webinar about the new rules for Bloomberg BNA.  For more information or to register, please visit Bloomberg… Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rulings Give Teeth to Ascertainability Requirement for Class Certification

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Numerosity, Superiority

The “ascertainability” requirement for class certification is a crucial safeguard for both defendants and absent class members. There is some debate about its origin: some courts have held that it is implicit in Rule 23 that class members must be readily identifiable; others find ascertainability to be rooted in Rule 23(a)(1)’s numerosity mandate or Rule… Continue Reading

Update: Ninth Circuit to Decide Whether an Offer of Judgment to a Named Plaintiff Will Moot a Class Action

Posted in Motions Practice

We’ve previously written about the petition for interlocutory appeal in Chen v. Allstate Insurance Co., a TCPA class action that involves an important issue for class action practitioners:  can a named plaintiff refuse an offer of judgment for full relief and continue pursuing a class action?  The Ninth Circuit recently granted (pdf) the petition and can… Continue Reading

Judges Irked At Placeholder Class-Certification Motions Too

Posted in Class Action Trends, Motions Practice

From a practitioner’s standpoint, one of my five least-favorite recent developments in federal class-action practice is the explosion in the number of premature motions for class certification that would-be class representatives file. I understand the motivation behind these motions—often filed along with the initial complaint. Of course, they are not seriously intended to induce a… Continue Reading

Third Circuit Rules that TCPA Authorizes Consumers To Retract Consent to Cell Phone Calls

Posted in Motions Practice

The spate of class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) isn’t ending anytime soon. And the risks to businesses have just increased in the Third Circuit, thanks to that court’s recent ruling that the TCPA permits consumers to retract consent to receiving calls on their cell phones placed by automatic telephone dialing systems…. Continue Reading

Will the Ninth Circuit Revisit the Issue of Whether an Offer of Judgment to the Named Plaintiff Can Moot a Class Action?

Posted in Motions Practice, U.S. Supreme Court

Before the Supreme Court’s decision last Term in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523 (2013), the Ninth Circuit had held that a named plaintiff can continue to pursue a putative class action even after the defendant has extended that plaintiff an offer of judgment for the full individual relief sought in the… Continue Reading

Are You Prepared for the New TCPA Rules? The Plaintiffs’ Bar Is.

Posted in Class Action Trends

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a favorite of the plaintiffs’ class-action bar because it provides for statutory damages of up to $1,500 for knowing or willful violations. With some exceptions, the TCPA prohibits, among other things, unsolicited marketing faxes as well as calls and text messages using autodialers or prerecorded voices. See, e.g.,… Continue Reading

Will Creditors Face Actions Over Their Debt-Collection Practices by the CFPB or the Class-Action Bar?

Posted in Class Action Trends

Companies that provide credit to their customers are well aware that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which authorizes suits against violators for statutory damages of up to $1,000, applies only to “debt collectors”—not creditors. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k. But a recent bulletin (pdf) by the CFPB—whose commissioner Richard Cordray was just confirmed by… Continue Reading

Can Plaintiffs Gerrymander Mass Actions to Avoid Federal Jurisdiction?

Posted in Motions Practice, Uncategorized

The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”) provides that defendants may remove certain mass actions—cases that are proposed to be tried jointly—so long as the aggregate amount at stake is at least $5 million and there are 100 or more plaintiffs in the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11). But what if plaintiffs’ counsel try… Continue Reading

How to Draft Fair and Enforceable Consumer and Employee Arbitration Agreements

Posted in Arbitration

We frequently help companies address how to manage dispute resolution with their customers and employees—and in particular, how to make use of arbitration as a fair alternative to litigation in court (including class actions).  As a result, we have a great deal of experience with drafting new arbitration agreements and helping companies fine-tune their existing… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Grants Review in Recess Appointments Challenge

Posted in Employment, U.S. Supreme Court

We’ve been reporting on the constitutional challenge to President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which has serious implications for the recess appointment of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray. Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted the government’s unopposed petition for a writ of certiorari from the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Noel… Continue Reading