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 |2019-11-26T13:18:10-05:00May 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 |2019-11-26T13:17:43-05:00May 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 |2019-11-26T13:17:10-05:00April 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 |2019-11-26T13:16:47-05:00March 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 |2019-11-26T13:16:20-05:00March 1st, 2019|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , |

The Electric Scooter Revolution Hits a Roadblock

We are living through the early days of a revolution.  Not a political revolution; rather, an electric scooter revolution.  No matter where you go in Washington, D.C. and in many other cities around the country, you are likely to bump into an electronic scooter, maybe even literally.  Electronic scooter use has taken off because they provide a cheap, easy, and environmentally-friendly way to travel.  Twice each day during rush hour, commuters are forced to share the streets and sidewalks with scooter riders.  Popular electronic scooter companies such as Lift, Bird, and Lime have just begun to tap into this popular new [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:15:54-05:00March 1st, 2019|Practice Areas: Product Liability|Topics: |

SCOTUS Hears Arguments to Equitable Tolling Doctrine for Class Certification Appeal

On November 27, 2018, the Supreme Court heard  oral argument in Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, No. 17-1094, to determine whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f)’s 14-day deadline to file for permission to appeal an order granting or denying a class-action certification is subject to equitable exceptions. Rule 23(f) provides that the court of appeals may hear an appeal from an order granting or denying class certification.  To appeal the order, the party must petition the court of appeals for permission within 14 days after the order is entered. In Lambert, Respondent Troy Lambert filed a class action [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:15:32-05:00November 28th, 2018|Practice Areas: Consumer Protection|Topics: , |

SCOTUS To Review Whether A Third-Party Defendant Can Remove a Class Action to Federal Court

On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether, under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a third-party defendant can remove a class action from state to federal court. Home Depot USA, Inc., U.S. No. 17-1471. CAFA allows “any defendant” to remove actions from state to federal court if certain jurisdictional requirements are met. This case arose when Citibank N.A. brought a debt collection action against George Jackson in state court alleging he failed to pay for a water treatment system he bought using a Citibank credit card. Jackson filed a counterclaim against Citibank and third-party class [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:14:56-05:00November 8th, 2018|Practice Areas: General|Topics: |

SCOTUS Declines to Extend American Pipe Tolling Rule to Successive Class Actions

Recently on June 11, 2018, the Supreme Court, in China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, 138 S.Ct. 1800 (2018), unanimously held that the statute of limitations is not tolled on successive class actions when a putative class action is filed.  Previously in American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974), the Supreme Court ruled that the claims of non-named plaintiffs were not barred by the statute of limitations if the class action of which they were a member failed.  The statute of limitations for the individual claims was tolled while the class action was [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:14:16-05:00July 16th, 2018|Practice Areas: General|Topics: , |

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act: Recent Developments & Best Practices to Protect Your Business

Introduction Receipt of unsolicited phone calls or text messages is not uncommon. These calls are often only moderately inconvenient for the recipient; however, if the unsolicited communication does not strictly follow the mandates of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), consequences for the caller can be catastrophic. The following is a brief overview of the TCPA, recent developments in the law, and best practices to protect your business and to ultimately avoid costly litigation. TCPA Background The TCPA was enacted in 1991, a time when residential landlines were standard and cellular telephones were an exception. Twenty-seven years [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:13:26-05:00May 1st, 2018|Practice Areas: Consumer Protection|

SCOTUS to Evaluate Fairness of Cy Pres and Class Settlement Awards

On April 30, 2018, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Frank v. Gaos, No. 17-961 to determine whether a cy pres award of class action proceeds that provides no direct relief to class members supports class certification and comports with the requirement that  settlements binding class members must be “fair, reasonable, and adequate.” Cy pres is French for “as near close as possible.”  The purpose of the doctrine in class action litigation is to allow unclaimed funds to be distributed to organizations that advance the interests of the litigation, instead of returning remaining funds to the defendant.  [...]

By |2019-11-26T13:12:52-05:00April 30th, 2018|Practice Areas: General|Topics: |

D.C. Circuit Confirms Statutory Violations Alone Are Not Enough For Standing to Sue

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s holding in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins,136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), federal courts routinely struggle to determine when a statutory violation will rise to the level of a concrete harm that will confer standing to bring suit.  For instance, the District Court for the Middle District of Florida found that a procedural violation of the FCRA—without any attendant harm—was a concrete injury enabling plaintiffs’ lawsuit to proceed.  See Hargrett v. Amazon.com DEDC LLC, 235 F. Supp. 3d 1320 (M.D. Fla. 2017) (click here for additional analysis).  On the other hand, [...]

By |2019-11-19T12:03:52-05:00March 12th, 2018|Practice Areas: Consumer Protection|