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Tag Archives: Seventh Circuit

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

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

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

The Seventh Circuit’s Unique Approach To Handling Rule 23(f) Petitions

Posted in Appeals, Class Certification

We recently noted that the Ninth Circuit had granted a Rule 23(f) petition in Chen v. Allstate Insurance Co.—on the issue whether a named plaintiff can refuse an offer of judgment for full relief and persist in litigating a class action—and was expected to issue a briefing schedule soon. Leaving aside the substance of the… 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

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

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

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

Are State-Law Claims for Violating Federal Food Labeling Law Preempted?

Posted in Class Action Trends, Motions Practice

The federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”)—along with the implementing regulations promulgated by the FDA—sets out a detailed national standard for much of what appears on food and beverage labeling. See 21 U.S.C. §§ 301, et seq.; 21 C.F.R. §§ 101, et seq.; Pom Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co., 679 F.3d 1170, 1175 (9th… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Holds that a Plaintiff who Settles Individual Claims Lacks Standing to Challenge Denial of Class Certification

Posted in Appeals, Class Certification

Here’s a common scenario:  After unsuccessfully moving for class certification and having a petition for review under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) rebuffed, the plaintiff wants to take another shot at an appeal.  Can the plaintiff simply settle his individual claims—subject to his right to appeal the denial of class certification—so that he has a… Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Nixes Requirement that All Defendants Physically Sign Notice of Removal To Federal Court

Posted in Motions Practice

The Fourth Circuit recently weighed in on a technical question involving the process for removing a case against multiple defendants to federal court—namely, whether every defendant must actually sign the notice of removal. The Fourth Circuit concluded that “[w]e can see no policy reason why removal in a multiple-defendant case cannot be accomplished by the… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds that Plaintiff Whose Individual Claims Were Mooted by an Offer of Judgment Lacks Standing to Maintain FLSA Collective Action

Posted in Employment, U.S. Supreme Court

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) permits an employee to file a “collective action” for damages against an employer individually and on behalf of other “similarly situated” employees who later choose to join the lawsuit. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). In Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, before any other employee had opted to join… Continue Reading

Can Plaintiffs Evade The FDCPA’s Cap on Total Statutory Damages in a Class Action by Filing Multiple, Gerrymandered Class Actions?

Posted in Class Certification, Motions Practice, Superiority

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which regulates the conduct of debt collectors, authorizes plaintiffs suing over violations to recover statutory damages of up to $1,000. Because these amounts can rapidly add up to exorbitant numbers in a class action for very minor, technical violations, Congress capped the total amount of statutory damages that… 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

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

Federal Government Acknowledges Undue Risk of Potentially Massive Liability from Class Actions for Statutory Damages Under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, but Proposes a Solution Good for One Defendant Only

Posted in Class Action Trends, Class Certification, Motions Practice, Superiority, U.S. Supreme Court

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear argument in United States v. Bormes, a case that apparently has not captured the attention of most class action practitioners. That’s understandable: The question presented (pdf) is “whether the Little Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2), waives the sovereign immunity of the United States with respect to damages actions for violations… Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: Order Partially Decertifying a Class Is Appealable Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f)

Posted in Appeals, Class Certification

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) gives federal courts of appeals authority to permit interlocutory appeals from orders granting or denying motions to certify a class. The rule leaves it murky, however, whether an order partially decertifying a class is appealable under Rule 23(f). In a brief opinion by Judge Posner, the Seventh Circuit has… Continue Reading

Class Action Attacking Product Defect Declared Moot When Company Voluntarily Recalled Challenged Product

Posted in Adequacy, Class Action Trends, Class Certification, Motions Practice, Superiority

Should a class action go forward when the company voluntarily has provided all the relief plaintiffs have sought?  At least in some circumstances, the answer is “no,” according to the Tenth Circuit. Here’s some background.   Many product manufacturers—and especially auto makers—are targeted by the class action bar when they announce voluntary recalls.  The lawsuits typically… Continue Reading