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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Eighth Circuit Decertifies Environmental Nuisance Class Action Alleging “Fear of Contamination” Without More

The Eighth Circuit recently issued a decision reversing class certification for lack of commonality. In Smith v. ConocoPhillips Pipe Line Co., the Eighth Circuit considered a class action proceeding on a nuisance theory against the owner of a pipeline. The plaintiffs, who owned property near the pipeline and were suing on behalf of a class of … Continue Reading

Ten Things Class Action Practitioners Need To Know About Potential Amendments To Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 23

Rule 23 may be in for some major changes. The Advisory Committee has commissioned a Rule 23 subcommittee to investigate possible revisions to the class action rules. That subcommittee issued a report (pdf) discussing its progress, and recently has been conducting a “listening tour” of sorts regarding potential rule changes. Our initial view is that … Continue Reading

FCC Expands Potential Liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for Business-to-Customer Calls and Text Messages

“This Order will make abuse of the TCPA much, much easier. And the primary beneficiaries will be trial lawyers, not the American public.” That’s what FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai had to say in his dissent from the FCC’s recent Declaratory Ruling and Order, issued on July 10, 2015. The FCC’s Order reflected the agency’s response … Continue Reading

New Oregon class-action law purports to seize unclaimed damages for legal aid and judge-picked charities

The first bill signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown—H.B. 2700 (pdf)—changes the rules for handling payment of damages awards in class actions in Oregon state courts. Effective immediately, including for pending actions, the new law attempts to redirect unclaimed damages under class-action settlements or judgments to the state bar’s legal aid program and to charities … Continue Reading

Congratulations to “Litigation Trailblazer and Pioneer” Evan Tager

In our first post of 2015, we wanted to congratulate our colleague and mentor, Evan Tager, for his recent recognition as a Litigation Trailblazer and Pioneer by the National Law Journal. Evan has been at the forefront of major developments in the law—including those affecting class action and mass tort litigation.  As this profile notes, … Continue Reading

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

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

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.… Continue Reading

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

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?

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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?

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

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?

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

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

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.… Continue Reading

Upcoming Webinar on New TCPA Rules

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

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

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