The Vaping Industry: Targeted By Class Action Lawsuits

In recent decades, there has been a significant decline in cigarette use, especially among the younger generation. Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have begun to fill that void. E-cigarettes, while marketed as a cooler and safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, operate in almost the same way as traditional cigarettes. They contain nicotine-infused water that users inhale as vapor. They also come in a variety of different flavors, including cotton candy, chocolate, bubble gum, and crème brulee. A significant number of class action lawsuits, however, have accompanied the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes. Recently, the Los Angeles [...]

By |2019-11-08T13:55:01-05:00November 8th, 2019|Practice Areas: Class Action, Product Liability|Topics: , , |

Federal Court Decertifies FCRA Class Action for Lack of Standing Under Spokeo

On October 18, 2019, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Central District of California decertified a class of approximately 6.5 million Wal-Mart job applicants, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy Article III standing requirements under Spokeo v. Robins. The Supreme Court in Spokeo reiterated that a statutory violation by itself and without a concrete injury is insufficient to confer Article III standing. In Pitre v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a class of plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to provide job applicants with required and sufficient [...]

By |2019-10-22T11:02:43-04:00October 22nd, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , |

Ninth Circuit Certifies Minor League Baseball Wage and Hour Class Action

On August 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that minor league baseball players in Arizona and Florida could join minor leaguers in California in a multi-state employment class action against major league baseball ownership and its franchises. The players claim that baseball’s owners and teams failed to comply with the federal Fair LaborStandards Act and Arizona, California, and Florida labor laws by not paying them the required minimum wage. While the players were paid a minimum wage for a 40-hour work week, they claim they were required to work much [...]

By |2019-09-10T09:05:47-04:00September 9th, 2019|Practice Areas: Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

NLRB Finds Employers Can Modify Arbitration Agreements After Suit to Prohibit Participation in Collective Actions

On August 14, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that employers can revise mandatory arbitration agreements to prohibit employees from joining class and collective actions even after a suit has been filed. The NLRB further held that employers may condition continued employment on the execution of the amended agreement and threaten to terminate those who refuse. Neither action was found to violate Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which prohibits employers from interfering with employees’ union-related activities under Section 7 of the Act. In the case at bar, a group of employees filed a [...]

By |2019-08-21T16:15:14-04:00August 21st, 2019|Practice Areas: Labor & Employment|Topics: |

D.C. District Court Dismisses Proposed Class Action Against The George Washington University Alleging Mismanagement of Workers’ Retirement Savings

On Monday, July 15, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against The George Washington University. The suit was filed under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The Court held that Plaintiff Melissa Stanley lacked standing to sue because she explicitly gave up her right to sue as part of a 2016 settlement with the University. Stanley filed the instant lawsuit against the University in April 2018, alleging that the University, its board of trustees, and its plan administration committee breached their fiduciary duty by burdening Stanley’s [...]

By |2019-07-16T15:35:08-04:00July 16th, 2019|Practice Areas: General, Labor & Employment|Topics: , , |

Junk Faxes – the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Battle of the “Unsolicited Advertisement”

On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in PDR Network, LLC, et al. v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., Docket No. 17-1705. This case involves the receipt of an unsolicited fax and whether such a fax violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Court declined to squarely answer the question, but instead, sent it back to theCourt of Appeals for additional review. Generally, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) anyone can sue if they receive an unsolicited ad by fax. This is exactly what happened in PDR Network. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic [...]

By |2019-06-27T15:11:16-04:00June 27th, 2019|Practice Areas: Consumer Protection|

The District of Columbia Circuit in the Spotlight: Does Bristol-Myers Apply to Class Action Lawsuits?

The appeal at issue originated from a class action lawsuit filed by Whole Foods Market’s employees in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Molock v. Whole Foods Mkt., Inc., 297 F.Supp. 3d 114 (D.D.C. 2018). Specifically, on June 22, 2017, Whole Foods Market’s employees filed a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages. The class consisted of current and former Whole Foods Market employees from the District of Columbia and several states. The employees claimed that they were not paid their entitled bonuses as a result of managers manipulating certain labor cost and [...]

By |2019-09-20T15:44:53-04:00June 3rd, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: |

SCOTUS Holds that Third-Party Defendants Cannot Remove Class Actions from State to Federal Court

On May 28, 2019, in a 5-4 decision, in which Justice Thomas sided with the Court’s “liberal” justices, the Supreme Court held in Home Depot USA, Inc. v. Jackson that a third-party defendant cannot use the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) to remove a class action from state to federal court. This case began when Citibank filed a debt-collection action in state court in North Carolina against respondent George Jackson, who borrowed money on a Citibank credit card to buy a home water-filtration system. In response, Jackson filed a counterclaim against Citibank and a third-party class action [...]

By |2019-05-30T11:37:17-04:00May 29th, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , |

The Supreme Court Refuses to Enforce Classwide Arbitration

On April 24, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court held that an ambiguous arbitration clause is not sufficient under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to force class arbitration on a non-consenting party. Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, No. 17-1988. The Court concluded that lower courts may not draw an inference from an ambiguous agreement that the parties consented to class arbitration and that neither silence nor ambiguity can establish a party’s consent to class arbitration under the FAA. This is because, according to the Court, parties’ consent to arbitrate is the foundational principle of arbitration agreements. Lamps Plus [...]

By |2019-05-15T12:32:41-04:00May 6th, 2019|Practice Areas: Labor & Employment|Topics: , |

SCOTUS Punts Ruling on Cy Pres Doctrine in Class Action Settlements

The Supreme Court issued its much-awaited ruling in Frank v. Gaos (17-961).  Court watchers anticipated that the Court would resolve the circuit split concerning the propriety of the cy pre doctrine in class action settlements.  Plaintiffs in the underlying litigation filed suit against Google alleging the company shared users’ search information with third-party vendors and, therefore, violated various common law privacy interests and state and federal statutes.  Because the class consisted of approximately 129 million individuals who used Google’s search engine, any monetary award to individual class members would be incredibly small.  Class counsel and Google [...]

By |2019-05-15T12:42:57-04:00April 23rd, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , , , |

Students and Parents Respond to College Admission Scandal with a Class Action Lawsuit

On March 12, 2019, the United States Department of Justice charged 50 individuals, including celebrities and well-known professionals, with participating in an elaborate multi-million-dollar college recruitment scheme. Under the scheme, administrators and coaches at numerous prestigious educational institutions, as well as ACT and SAT administrators, were bribed in exchange for admitting children with lackluster credentials into such institutions. In light of these charges, current students have “piggybacked” on the government’s case and filed a civil class action complaint alleging punitive and compensatory damages of at least $5 million, which includes the recoupment of the plaintiffs’ admission [...]

By |2019-05-15T12:42:57-04:00March 26th, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: |

SCOTUS Holds that Rule 23(f) Class Certification Appeal Deadline is not Subject to Equitable Tolling

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(f), a federal appeals court may hear an appeal from an order granting or denying class certification if the appeal is filed within 14 days after the trial court’s order is entered.  The Supreme Court took up the question as to whether the deadline could be extended under equitable tolling principles. On February 26, 2019, the United States Supreme Court held in Nutraceutical v. Lambert that equitable tolling does not apply to extend the 14-day deadline to appeal an order denying or granting class certification under Federal Rule 23(f). In [...]

By |2019-05-15T12:42:57-04:00March 1st, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , |