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Class Actions

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The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this overtime pay case, finding plaintiff had not shown that common issues predominated.  Though there was a common question about whether defendant violated California labor law in calculating the amount of overtime pay (because in computing base pay it divided the flat bonus for weekend worked by… Read More

The district court erred in enhancing an attorney fee award after settlement of a class action.  It should not have enhanced the fee simply because the plaintiff's attorney spent many hours on the case, particularly as much of that time was spent on discovery.  Since the defendant usually cannot retaliate, there is an incentive for class counsel to run up… Read More

This case holds that when a settling defendant in a class action agrees to pay a reasonable attorney's fee to the plaintiff's attorney separately from the amount paid in settlement of class members' claims, City of Burlington v. Dague (1992) 112 S.Ct. 2638 applies, and the court may not enhance the fee award to compensate for contingency risk. Read More

In an attempt to settle the many coordinated suits by local governmental entities against drug companies, doctors and others about over-prescribing opiod drugs, the district certified a "negotiation class" of all cities and counties for the sole purpose of attempting to negotiate a settlement to the litigation.  This decision holds that the certification was in error.  Rule 23 allows litigation… Read More

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

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