The Second Circuit’s recent decision in Hecht v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., No. 11-1327 (2d Cir. Aug. 17, 2012), should sound alarm bells for any business that attempts to settle a class action.  The takeaway from the decision is to make sure that  notice of the settlement to absent class members is adequate. Under some circumstances, a single notice in the USA Today won’t cut it. And if it doesn’t, the release in the settlement won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on, and other plaintiffs will be free to bring the exact same class action against you.
Continue Reading Second Circuit: Insufficient Notice of Class Action Settlement Means That Class Members Can Bring Copycat Class Actions

We recently reported on a class settlement in which no members of the class submitted claims.  The plaintiffs in that case contended that the defendant violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) by failing to post a notice on its ATMs that consumers would be charged a fee for using the machines.

More recently, in another case involving the same kind of alleged violation, Ballard v. Branch Banking & Trust Co. (pdf), Judge Ellen Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia refused to certify a class, concluding that, under the circumstances, a class action failed Rule
Continue Reading Lawyer-Driven Class Action Challenging ATM Fee Notices Flunks Superiority Requirement

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 allege (among other things) that the manufacturer had fraudulently concealed the defect, and seek an injunction ordering the manufacturer to repair the defect.  In other words, these suits seek precisely the same relief that the manufacturer is already providing.  Sometimes the plaintiffs tack on requests
Continue Reading Class Action Attacking Product Defect Declared Moot When Company Voluntarily Recalled Challenged Product