Class Actions

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This decision holds that there is a constitutional limit on aggregate statutory damage awards even if the statutory damage per violation passes constitutional muster.  An aggregate damage award may exceed due process limits in extreme situations—that is, when they are “wholly disproportioned” and “obviously unreasonable” in relation to the goals of the statute and the conduct the statute prohibits.  Constitutional… Read More

The settlement released claims of all class members who had bought iPhones on which Apple software throttled performance to avoid overtaxing the battery, but the settlement fund was payable only to those class members who submitted an attestation that they had experienced the slowing of the iPhone's functions as a result of the throttling.  This decision holds that the settlement… Read More

Though it did most other things right, the district court erred in expressly employing the wrong standard to decide whether the class action settlement in this case was fair, just, and equitable.  In a pre-certification settlement, like this one, the district court may not presume the settlement is reasonable but must instead exercise heightened scrutiny.  Application of the wrong standard… Read More

The district court erred in certifying a plaintiff class in this case challenging defendant's classification of its property preservation workers as independent contractors and asserting claims for overtime pay and expense reimbursement.  Plaintiffs could not prove fact of damage--not just amount of damage--by common evidence since some class members had not worked overtime or incurred reimbursable business expenses.  The district… Read More

Plaintiff was a nurse, employed by a staffing company, on temporary assignment to a hospital run by defendant.  Plaintiff brought separate class actions against the staffing company and the hospital for wage and hour violations.  This decision holds that the settlement and dismissal of plaintiff's suit against the staffing company did not end or preclude her suit against the defendant. … Read More

The FAA does not preempt California law insofar as it invalidates a waiver of an employee's right to bring PAGA claims arising out of Labor Code violations that affected the plaintiff employee.  However, the FAA does preempt California law (Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348 and progeny) insofar as it precludes waiver of the employee's… Read More

The district court abused its discretion in denying class certification on the ground of lack of numerosity in this Title IX case charging unequal sports programs for females in Hawaii state schools.  The absolute size of the class--300 currently enrolled students--satisfied numerosity, as the plaintiff's claims challenged the state's overall treatment of female athletes, necessarily affecting all 300 female athletes. … Read More

Following Berroteran v. Superior Court (2022) 2021 Cal. LEXIS 8418, this decision holds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting testimony by Ford witnesses given in depositions in a class action involving defects in the same model truck as plaintiff sued on.  Plaintiffs were not parties to the class action since the class was not certified… Read More

Plaintiff employee's initial complaint sought individual and class relief for Labor Code violations as well as PAGA claims for statutory penalties for the same violations.  After defendant employer moved to compel arbitration, plaintiff amended the complaint to delete the individual and class claims, leaving only the PAGA claims.  This decision holds that the amendment was effective to avoid arbitration.  Under… Read More

As a Juul employee, Grove obtained stock options which he exercised to buy shares of Juul stock.  Grove sued Juul in California asserting a claim for the right to inspect Juul's books and records and also class and derivative claims against Juul's officers and directors.  The California court first stayed the inspection claim based on the forum selection clause in… Read More

Following Roes, 1-2  v. SFBSC Management, LLC (9th Cir. 2019) 944 F.3d 1035, this decision holds that when a class action settles before class certification, the district court may not apply a presumption of fairness to the settlement based on arms-length negotiation between experienced counsel.  Instead, the court mus employ extra caution and more rigorous scrutiny in evaluating a pre-certification… Read More

Distinguishing Microsoft Corp. v. Baker (2017) 137 S.Ct. 1702, Langere v. Verizon Wireless Services, LLC (9th Cir. 2020) 983 F.3d 1115, and Sperring v. LLR, Inc. (9th Cir. 2021) 995 F.3d 680, which involved voluntary dismissals in order to appeal from class certification orders or orders compelling arbitration, as to which Rule 23(f) or 9 USC 16 prescribe different appellate… Read More

Statistical evidence is admissible to establish predominance under FRCivP 23(b)(3) if that evidence would be admissible in an individual action on the same claim, the statistical evidence is linked to the plaintiffs' theory of liability and the use of averaging assumptions does not conceal the variations that otherwise would defeat class certification.  Here, plaintiffs' statistical evidence satisfied those three tests. … Read More

The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this case involving the valuation of totaled cars.  While defendants might have uniformly violated a Washington state insurance regulation requiring itemization of deductions in calculating the car's value, there was no private right of action under the regulation.  Plaintiffs sued for breach of contract and unfair trade… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification in this wage and hour case.  Insofar as plaintiff claimed that the employer's rounding of hours worked was illegal, the trial court properly found that noncommon issues predominated because it had no single rounding policy but left matters up to managers at its different locations.  Plaintiff's theory that… Read More

A district court may approve a class action settlement that provides monetary relief only in the form of cy pres payments to non-parties, so long as distribution to class members is not possible and the recipients of the cy pres payments are appropriately chosen in light of the nature of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, the objectives of the underlying statutes, and… Read More

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