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Category Archives: Predominance

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Fourth Circuit puts teeth into ascertainability, commonality, and predominance requirements for class certification

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance

Sometimes it’s hard to know who’s in a class without substantial individualized inquiries.  Can a court certify a class of persons with allegedly similar injuries by pigeonholing the question of class membership as a question of damages to be determined later?  Not so fast, the Fourth Circuit held in EQT Production Co. v. Adair (pdf).  A class… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Refuses To Overturn Fraud-On-The-Market Presumption, But Adjusts Presumption To Allow Evidence of Absence Of “Price Impact” At Class Certification Stage

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance, Securities, U.S. Supreme Court

The securities class action industry was launched a quarter-century ago when the Supreme Court recognized the so-called “fraud-on-the-market” presumption of reliance in most putative securities class actions.  The result has been that—despite Congressional efforts at securities litigation reform—most securities class actions that survive the pleadings stage are likely to achieve class certification, forcing defendants to… Continue Reading

California Court Says No Need To Resolve Disputes Over Substantive Law In Evaluating Whether Class Can Be Certified

Posted in Class Certification, Commonality, Employment, Predominance

Suppose that you’re a trial court considering a motion for class certification.  And suppose that the parties present you with two competing statutory interpretations.  One legal standard permits the case to be adjudicated with common evidence.  And the other standard would require  individualized inquiries.  What should you do?  Should you decide what the law is… Continue Reading

Class-Action Plaintiffs Must Offer Evidence Showing That They Meet Class-Certification Requirements

Posted in Adequacy, Class Certification, Predominance, Securities

A recent decision denying certification of a securities-fraud class action underscores that plaintiffs must prove with evidence that they satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, not merely allege that they do so or promise that they can. The decision in In re Kosmos Energy Limited Securities Litigation arose from a class action… 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

Two Washer Cases Provide the Supreme Court with Its Best Opportunity Since Wal-Mart v. Dukes to Make Sense of Class-Certification Standards

Posted in Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance, U.S. Supreme Court

At its conference on January 10, the Supreme Court can get serious about fixing consumer class actions. The Justices should take up that challenge, because it will consider two certiorari petitions that seek review of class certifications—involving alleged “moldy odors” in high-tech front loading washing machines—that are prime examples of what has gone wrong with… 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

Twelve Amici Join Mayer Brown in Seeking Supreme Court Review of Front-Loading Washer Cases

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance, U.S. Supreme Court

As I have previously blogged, my colleagues and I have filed certiorari petitions in two significant cases affecting class-action litigation, Sears Roebuck & Co. v. Butler (pdf) and Whirlpool Corp. v. Glazer (pdf). The petitions challenge decisions that bless broad class actions on behalf of largely uninjured purchasers of front-loading washing machines whose product-defect claims… Continue Reading

Mayer Brown Files Cert Petitions In Front-Loading Washer Cases

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance, U.S. Supreme Court

Today, Mayer Brown filed a pair of certiorari petitions that challenge efforts by two federal appellate courts to narrow the Supreme Court’s recent class-action decisions in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes to tickets good for a single ride only. The Supreme Court previously remanded both cases for reconsideration after Comcast,… Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Overturns Certification of Antitrust Class Action and Requires Reconsideration in Light of Comcast Corp. v. Behrend

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance

Class-action lawyers on both sides of the “v.” have been debating the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend. Last week, the D.C. Circuit delivered its answer in In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation, the most significant opinion thus far to address Comcast. As the D.C…. Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Overturns Certification of Overtime Class Action Because Of Foreign Statute Of Repose

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance

It’s not all that often that a federal court of appeals reverses an order granting class certification in an unpublished opinion—much less the Ninth Circuit. But a panel of that court just did so last week in holding that a district court erred in certifying a class of workers because of Kuwait’s statute of repose…. Continue Reading

Can Securities Fraud Defendants Rebut Price Impact To Avoid Class Certification?

Posted in Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance, Securities

In Section 10(b) securities-fraud cases based on affirmative misrepresentations, a class action cannot be certified unless investor reliance is presumed under the fraud-on-the-market theory of Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988). In Erica P. John Fund, Inc. v. Halliburton Co., 131 S. Ct. 2179 (2011), the Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff does… Continue Reading

Do the Plaintiffs Lack Standing or Are Their Claims Simply Meritless—or Both?

Posted in Adequacy, Class Action Trends, Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance, Typicality

Here’s the situation: You’re facing a class action in federal court in which the plaintiffs define the putative class so broadly as to encompass many people who weren’t injured by the alleged wrongdoing. For example, consider a false-advertising class action on behalf of “all purchasers” of a product that the vast majority of purchasers would… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reverses Certification of Antitrust Class Action Where Class Failed To Prove That Damages Could Be Determined On A Classwide Basis

Posted in Antitrust, Class Certification, Predominance, U.S. Supreme Court

An important and recurring issue in class actions is whether a district court must consider particular merits issues when deciding whether to certify a class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Today, in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend (pdf), No. 11-864, the Supreme Court reversed the certification of an antitrust class action because the district court… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Denies Review In NECA-IBEW Case

Posted in Adequacy, Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance, Securities, Typicality

We’ve been blogging about the Second Circuit’s decision in NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund v. Goldman Sachs (pdf), which held that a named plaintiff in a securities fraud suit might have standing in some situations to assert class action claims regarding securities that he or she never purchased. Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied (pdf) Goldman’s petition… Continue Reading

Securities Fraud Defendant Rebuts Fraud-on-the-Market Presumption of Reliance

Posted in Class Certification, Motions Practice, Predominance, Securities

With all of the attention on last week’s Amgen decision, another interesting decision addressing the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance in securities fraud actions may have escaped notice. In GAMCO Investors, Inc. v. Vivendi, S.A. (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2013), Judge Scheindlin found that the defendant had rebutted the presumption of reliance as to a group of related… Continue Reading

Lipton v. Chattem, Inc.: Federal District Court Denies Certification On Adequacy Grounds

Posted in Adequacy, Class Certification, Predominance, Superiority

The requirement that the named plaintiff must be an adequate class representative is not often the basis for denying class certification. But a recent decision from the Northern District of Illinois in a false-advertising class action illustrates the importance of taking discovery on facts that are relevant to the adequacy standard. In Lipton v. Chattem,… Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: A “Shapeless, Free-Wheeling” Trial Plan Is Grounds for Decertifying Class

Posted in Class Certification, Employment, Predominance, Rule 23(b)(2), Superiority

The Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Espenscheid v. DirectSat USA, LLC—authored by Judge Posner—is full of good news for employers and other class-action defendants. The case is a hybrid collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (pdf) and opt-out Rule 23(b)(3) class action asserting state-law wage-and-hour claims. The plaintiffs—a group of home satellite-dish installers who… Continue Reading

Can a Product-Liability Class that Is Full of Uninjured Members Be Certified?

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance, Superiority

The answer is a resounding “no,” says Judge Cormac Carney of the Central District of California in a recent significant decision in litigation over the third generation Toyota Prius and 2010 Lexus HS250h vehicles (In re Toyota Motor Corp. Hybrid Brake Mktg., Sales Practices & Prods. Liab. Litig. (pdf), No. SAML 10-2172-CJC (C.D. Cal. Jan. 9,… Continue Reading

Balthazor: Individualized Questions as to Consent Torpedo Attempt to Certify TCPA Class Action

Posted in Class Certification, Predominance

Readers of this blog are likely familiar with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TPCA”), the law that prohibits certain types of calls using an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded message. The plaintiffs’ bar has filed numerous class actions seeking statutory damages under the TCPA.  Businesses facing these actions should be alert for opportunities to… Continue Reading

Expelliarmus! Eleventh Circuit Disarms False-Advertising Class Action Against Makers of Fantasy Video Game

Posted in Ascertainability, Class Certification, Predominance

Plaintiffs who wish to bring product-liability and consumer-fraud class actions against businesses often overreach when defining the proposed class in order to raise the stakes—and hence the settlement pressure—on the defendant.  A recent unpublished decision by the Eleventh Circuit, Walewski v. Zenimax Media, Inc. (pdf), No. 12-11843, is yet another example of the growing consensus rejecting… Continue Reading

Class Action Plaintiffs Can’t Have It Both Ways When Opposing Motions to Compel Arbitration

Posted in Arbitration, Class Certification, Motions Practice, Numerosity, Predominance, Typicality

In litigation—as in war—it is natural to focus on winning today’s skirmish and to defer planning for battles that might not happen for weeks or months.  But that shortsightedness can lead to strategic blunders—as one class action plaintiff suing Capital One Bank and credit counseling agency InCharge Debt Solutions recently learned the hard way. In King… Continue Reading

Brinker’s Impact on Certification of Meal-Break Class Actions in California

Posted in Class Certification, Employment, Predominance

Class actions alleging that employers’ meal-break policies violate California law have long been a favorite of the plaintiffs’ bar.  Earlier this year, however, the California Supreme Court handed employers a victory in Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (Cal. 2012), holding that the obligation under the California Labor Code to provide… Continue Reading

Wall Street Journal Editorial Calls for Supreme Court Review in Whirlpool Corp. v. Glazer

Posted in Appeals, Class Certification, Commonality, Predominance, U.S. Supreme Court

The Wall Street Journal recently published an editorial urging the Supreme Court to grant the petition for certiorari (pdf) in Whirlpool Corp. v. Glazer—a petition filed by my colleagues Stephen Shapiro, Jeffrey Sarles, and Tim Bishop. The petition seeks review of a decision by the Sixth Circuit (pdf), which affirmed the certification of a class of Ohio… Continue Reading