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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

Eleventh Circuit adopts broad view of businesses’ potential liability under TCPA for faxes sent by third parties

Posted in Class Action Trends, Motions Practice

One of the hottest areas in class actions is litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  And one of the most significant issues in TCPA litigation is the existence and scope of vicarious liability.  The key question is to what extent are businesses liable for the actions of third-party marketers who, without the consent… Continue Reading

Class Action Fairness Act Roundup

Posted in CAFA

Nine years after the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (“CAFA”) was enacted, parties continue to fight over when federal jurisdiction over significant class and mass actions is proper. In this post, we provide a rundown of some of the most important recent cases involving CAFA.

More Thoughts On Ascertainability And Why It Matters In Deciding Whether To Certify A Class Action

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification

Can you have a class action if you can’t figure out who’s in the proposed class? According to many in the plaintiffs’ bar, the answer is “yes.” But as we have discussed in prior blog posts, there is an emerging consensus to the contrary. Most courts agree that plaintiffs in consumer class actions have the… Continue Reading

Are You Objecting to Personal Jurisdiction In Magnet Jurisdictions Yet?

Posted in Motions Practice, U.S. Supreme Court

Until recently, many large companies have resigned themselves to the assertion of personal jurisdiction by courts in any state in which they do business—so long as the plaintiff has named the right corporate entity as defendant. That’s because the conventional wisdom has been that large companies are subject to personal jurisdiction nationwide because they do… Continue Reading

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

Posted in CAFA

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 CAFA

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 CAFA

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