We’re big fans of filing an early motion to strike class allegations when it’s apparent from the pleadings that the class definition is fatally flawed. Why should a defendant be forced to submit to the wringer of class discovery before taking a swing at defeating class certification? A recent case involving Office Depot illustrates the
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 A recent unpublished decision by the Eleventh Circuit, Walewski v. Zenimax Media, Inc. (pdf), No. 12-11843, is yet another example of the growing consensus …
First, a bit of background. In Meyer, the plaintiff sued a debt collector under the TCPA, alleging that it used an autodialer to call his cell phone number impermissibly. The plaintiff sought statutory damages and injunctive relief on behalf of a putative class of all California residents whom the defendant had called at cell phone numbers that had not been provided as part of the transaction giving rise to the debt in question. The district court certified the class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) for the limited purpose of entering a preliminary injunction against the challenged conduct. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Setting aside the TCPA issues—which will be addressed in a subsequent post—the Ninth Circuit’s decision contains several holdings that should be of interest (and concern) to class-action defendants more broadly: