Eighth Circuit Clarifies the Requirements for Cy Pres Distribution of Class Action Settlement Funds

Due to what it called a "substantial history of district courts ignoring and resisting circuit court cy pres concerns and rulings in class action cases," the Eighth Circuit recently clarified the legal principles surrounding cy pres distribution of class action settlement funds.  After plaintiffs filed securities class actions challenging the 1998 merger of NationsBank and BankAmerica, the district court approved a global settlement of the classes’ claims.  Despite two ... Keep Reading »

Ninth Circuit Issues Companion Cases Addressing Evidence Required To Show That The Amount In Controversy Requirement Has Been Met When Challenged on Removal

Through a pair of opinions issued the same day, the Ninth Circuit attempted to clarify the evidence required for a defendant to meet its burden of showing that the amount in controversy exceeds CAFA’s $5 million threshold when a plaintiff moves to remand.  In the first opinion, Ibarra v. Manheim Investments, Inc., the plaintiff filed suit in state court seeking to represent a class of employees allegedly injured by the defendant’s "pattern and practice of failing to pay ... Keep Reading »

California’s Inconsistent Treatment of Pre-Dispute Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Will Remain in Place

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant review in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, leaving in place a California Supreme Court holding that pre-dispute arbitration agreements cannot require employees to waive their right to bring a representative action on behalf of themselves and other "aggrieved employees" under California's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Following U.S. Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Federal Arbitration ... Keep Reading »

Third Circuit: Strict Ascertainability Optional for Rule 23(B)(2) Class

Although not explicitly set forth in Rule 23, an essential prerequisite of any action under Rule 23 is that there must be an identifiable "class" at the moment of certification. The shorthand term commonly used to refer to this requirement is "ascertainability." Last week the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision explicitly rejecting an ascertainability requirement for Rule 23(b)(2) classes seeking only injunctive or declaratory relief. The case before the ... Keep Reading »

Eleventh Circuit Affirms CAFA-Based Remand Order

Just two weeks after the Supreme Court's decision in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a CAFA-based remand order where the defendant failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeded the jurisdictional threshold for a CAFA removal.  Plaintiff, a former Lilly employee, alleged that Lilly failed to make certain incentive payments due her and other similarly situated individuals who ... Keep Reading »

Will 2015 Be The Year of the Data Breach Class Action?: Target Data Breach Claims Survive Motions to Dismiss

Various media outlets dubbed 2014 "the Year of the Data Breach."  Unfortunately for businesses, breach of their secure systems by hackers may be only the beginning of the bad news – which often culminates in class action lawsuits.  Although 2014 started favorably for data breach defendants, with several federal district courts granting motions to dismiss such claims, December ended on a high note for the plaintiff's bar, with two Minnesota federal district decisions ... Keep Reading »

District Court Decertifies Class Where Damages Model Did Not Satisfy Supreme Court’s Requirements as Set Forth in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted a defendant’s motion to decertify a class because plaintiff’s damages model was not consistent with his theory of liability as required by the Supreme Court in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend. Plaintiff alleged that defendant’s false and misleading labeling of almond milk products violated California law, bringing claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and ... Keep Reading »

Third Circuit Weighs In On Burden of Proof and Evidentiary Standards Applicable to Cases Removed Under CAFA

Days before the Supreme Court’s decision addressing the requirements for CAFA notices of removal in Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, the Third Circuit addressed the evidentiary requirements for surviving a motion to remand a case removed under CAFA for failure to satisfy CAFA’s numerosity and amount in controversy requirements.   Plaintiff in the case sought to represent a class of “hundreds” of individuals injured in common carrier motor vehicle ... Keep Reading »

California District Court Finds that CAFA’s Amount-in-Controversy Requirement was Satisfied; Denies Motion to Remand

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied plaintiff’s motion to remand, holding that plaintiff’s claim for unpaid wages and overtime satisfied CAFA’s amount-in-controversy requirement. Plaintiff’s class action complaint alleged that Finish Line violated the California Labor Code and Business and Professions Code by, among other things, failing to pay its hourly employees regular and overtime wages on a “regular and consistent basis.” Thus, ... Keep Reading »

Supreme Court Confirms That A Notice Of Removal Requires Only A “Plausible Allegation” That The Amount In Controversy Has Been Met

The Supreme Court has held that a notice of removal requires only a “plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold,” and confirmed that a notice of removal need not include evidence establishing the amount in controversy.  In Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. v. Owens, the plaintiff alleged that defendants, Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. and Cherokee Basin Pipeline, LLC, underpaid royalties owed to putative class members and ... Keep Reading »