Coba filed a class action suit in federal court alleging that Ford violated multiple common law and statutory requirements by selling him a truck with a fuel tank lining that delaminated. The court granted Ford partial summary judgment and denied Coba’s motion to certify a class and, later, granted summary judgment to Ford on the only remaining theory. The only issue we will discuss here was the question before the Third Circuit: whether the district court retained jurisdiction after class certification was denied.
As society becomes increasingly litigious, and as plaintiff attorneys market their services more aggressively, class action litigation is posing a rapidly growing threat to businesses in all sectors.
June Newirth and others filed a class action complaint against Aegis Senior Communities in California state court alleging fraudulent activities violating multiple California statutes. Aegis removed the case to federal court and filed a motion to compel arbitration as well as a motion to dismiss. Instead of pursuing those motions, the parties entered a stipulation which, in part, called for Aegis to withdraw its motion to compel arbitration and its motion to dismiss. When an amended complaint was filed, Aegis filed a second motion to dismiss, but did not mention arbitration or again seek to compel arbitration. However, after having participated in discovery and other activities (including mediation) for roughly one year, the district court denied the second motion to dismiss. Only then did Aegis file a renewed motion to compel arbitration. The district court denied that motion finding that Aegis had waived its right to arbitrate, a ruling the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Joshua Rawa and others filed a California class action against Monsanto alleging that its labeling on Roundup herbicide was misleading. After a California class was certified, class counsel filed another case in Missouri on behalf of a putative class of consumers from the other 49 states. After a nationwide settlement agreement was entered into, the California case was transferred to Missouri, where Monsanto has its headquarters, to consolidate all cases. After the Missouri court granted preliminary settlement approval, James Migliaccio, a member of the original California class, objected to the settlement on multiple grounds. The district court overruled his objections and granted final approval at which time, Migliaccio appealed. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the class was adequately represented and that the settlement was “reasonable, fair, and adequate,” and therefore affirmed.
The Third Time is the Charm — Two Judge Panel Rules That CAFA’s Local Controversy Exception Did Not Apply.
Arkansas citizen Douglas Atwood filed his class action complaint against Illinois corporation Walgreen Company and two of its Arkansas district managers in Arkansas state court. Atwood claimed that Walgreens’ balance rewards program violated an Arkansas price discrimination statute. The defendants removed the case under CAFA, but Atwood moved to remand based on the “local controversy exception to CAFA.” After the district court denied Atwood’s motion to remand while granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss, Atwood appealed. He argued on appeal that the district court improperly considered extrinsic evidence. The Eighth Circuit disagreed and affirmed.
Blanca Arias sued her employer, Residence Inn (Marriott), for multiple alleged wage and hour violations. In this class action case, she sought compensatory damages, civil penalties, disgorgement of “ill-gotten gains”, and attorneys’ fees. Marriott removed, alleging that the amount in controversy was conservatively $5.5 million and potentially exceeded $15 million based on its assumptions and calculations (set forth in a chart for the district court). One month after the notice of removal was filed, the district court issued an order, sua sponte, remanding the case after finding “Marriott’s calculations of the amount in controversy ‘unpersuasive,’ concluding that the calculations rested on speculation and conjecture.” In addition, the court objected to Marriott’s failure to offer “evidentiary support” for some of its assumptions and concluded that different “valid assumptions could be made that result in damages that are less than the requisite $5,000,000 amount in controversy.” Marriott appealed.