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Class Actions

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A class action waiver is conceptually distinct from an arbitration agreement, though the two are often found together.  FINRA Rule 13204 forbids class action FINRA arbitrations.  Subsection (a)(4) also forbids an employer from enforcing an arbitration agreement against an employee who is a member of a certified class in a court action, at least with respect to the claims asserted… Read More

This decision holds that Trustees v. Greenough (1882) 105 U.S. 527, and Central Railroad & Banking Co. v. Pettus (1885) 113 U.S. 116 prohibit routine awards of incentive payments to named plaintiffs from a common fund class recovery.  Greenough upheld an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses but rejected as without legal basis an award for the lead plaintiff's… Read More

After the district court finally approved the class action settlement, the claims review committee adopted a "framework" for dealing with "branded title" claims, which for the first time disqualified vehicles purchased at insurance auto auctions from participating in the settlement benefits.  This decision holds that the appellant purchasers who had been denied benefits under this new framework rule were third… Read More

Citing Arias v. Superior Court (2009) 46 Cal.4th 969, this decision holds that the settlement and judgment in a prior class action and PAGA suit against the employer alleging the same meal and rest break violations is res judicata of plaintiff's similar PAGA claims.  Even though plaintiff opted out of the class action portion of the earlier case, he could… Read More

After having class certification denied and losing a partial summary judgment motion, plaintiff entered into a stipulation with defendant for a voluntary dismissal so he could appeal.  However, the stipulation reserved his right to appeal only the summary judgment and class certification rulings, not an earlier dismissal of a claim on a motion to dismiss.  This decision holds that by… Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in holding the plaintiff to the local rule requiring a class certification motion to be filed within 90 days of filing the complaint, particularly, as it then gave the plaintiff another 30 days to develop evidence and the right to file a supplemental brief.  Plaintiff couldn't show he was kept from discovery… Read More

Class Actions, CAFA, Relationship to Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Jurisdictional Requirements, 2, 7 CAFA does not impliedly repeal the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act's limitations on federal court jurisdiction.  For a federal court to have jurisdiction of a class action claim under the MMWA, there must be at least 100 named plaintiffs.  15 USC 2310(d)(3).  An MMWA class action claim brought by fewer… Read More

Following the en banc decision in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Econ. Litig. (Espinoza v. Ahearn) (9th Cir. 2019) 926 F.3d 539, this decision holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion in avoiding a detailed analysis of varying applicable state laws in certifying a setlttement-only class in this case.  That was particularly true as one of… Read More

The amount in controversy under CAFA is the defendant's possible liability, not likely or probable liability.  When the complaint prays for an unspecified amount of punitive damages, a removing defendant can meet its burden of showing its possible liability for an amount of punitive damages by presenting evidence of the compensatory to punitive damage ratio(s) awarded in other cases alleging… Read More

Following Baumann v. Chase Investment Serv. Corp. (9th Cir. 2014) 747 F.3d 1117, this decision holds that a PAGA suit is not a "class action" that can be removed under CAFA because a PAGA suit lacks the characteristics of a class action under FRCivP 23.  That conclusion not weakened by more recent decisions, but is instead by the Cal. Supreme… Read More

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