CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Dec. 12 granted preliminary approval to a settlement by Hardee’s franchisee with locations in North Carolina and South Carolina to end class claims by customers who were possibly exposed to hepatitis A at one of its locations (Iafreedre McClain, et al. v. Morning Star, LLC, No. 18-419, E.P., et al. v. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., et al., No. 18-483, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 209543)
LOS ANGELES — With the Dec. 13 filing of class complaints in California and Connecticut federal courts, more than 30 lawsuits have been lodged against Marriott International Inc. in the wake of a massive data breach that the hotel chain recently announced (Janel Sempre v. Marriott International Inc., et al., No. 2:18-cv-10324, C.D. Calif.; Stacey K. Allen, et al. v. Marriott International Inc., et al., No. 3:18-cv-02050, D. Conn.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 6 granted preliminary approval of a $65 million settlement to be paid by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to end nearly a decade of litigation over the retailer’s failure to provide seating for cashiers (Kathy Williamson, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 09-3339, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO — The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Janus v. State, County, and Municipal Employees doesn’t require a different ruling on the appropriateness of the class action device in a lawsuit seeking refunds of union fair-share fees, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6 following a remand by the high court and once more affirming denial of class certification (Theresa Riffey, et al. v. Bruce V. Rauner, et al., No. 16-3487, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34369).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In two putative class actions over a reinsurance participation agreement (RPA) of hundreds of California businesses that bought a workers’ compensation program, plaintiffs argue in a Dec. 11 brief that a California federal court should certify a class because whether the program and RPA are illegal is a common question for all class members (Shasta Linen Supply Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 16-00158, Pet Food Express Ltd., et al. v. Applied Underwriters Inc., et al., No. 16-01211, E.D. Calif.).
PHOENIX — In a 140-page class action complaint filed Dec. 7, plaintiffs are seeking damages in an Arizona federal court for participants hurt by an alleged captive insurance scheme and unlawful conspiracy involving captive insurance strategies that would provide non-tax benefits (Dimitri Shivkov, et al. v. Artex Risk Solutions Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-04514, D. Ariz.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group of mineral owners on Dec. 6 filed a putative class action against several hydraulic fracturing companies in Ohio federal court, contending that they are producing oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbon products from shale formations without agreements from the owners (J&R Passmore LLC, et al. v. Rice Drilling D LLC, et al., No. 18-1587, S.D. Ohio).
CINCINNATI — The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found on Dec. 6 that a lower federal court did not abuse its discretion in finding that common questions predominate over individualized issues, concluding that adjudicating claims against an insurer as a class is the superior option (James Stuart, et al. v. State Farm, No. 16-3784, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34356).
CINCINNATI — A panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 20 granted an appeal filed by a hydraulic fracturing company that challenges a federal judge’s decision to certify a class action brought by leaseholders in Ohio who contend that the company “systematically” violated their leases and underpaid royalties (Zehentbauer Family Land LP, et al. v. Chesapeake Exploration LLC, et al., No. 18-4139, 6th Cir.).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Dec. 4 remanded a putative class suit accusing two entities accused of failing to provide sufficient care in two North Carolina assisted living facilities, ruling that both companies are alter egos of each other and must be bound by a form-selection clause signed by one (Michelle Mullen, et al. v. Saber Healthcare Group, LLC, et al., No. 18-317, E.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204591).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel should reverse a lower court’s ruling certifying a class of investors in a securities class action lawsuit because the lower court improperly dismissed a pharmaceutical company’s expert testimony showing that there was no price impact on alleged misrepresentations and omissions made by the company and certain of its current and former senior executives, the defendants argue in a Dec. 3 appellant brief filed in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Aeterna Zentaris Inc., et al. v. Gregory Vizirgianakis, et al., No. 18-2474, 3rd Cir.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts appellate panel on Nov. 19 upheld the dismissal of suit and denial of post-judgment relief both filed by fans seeking damages and injunctive relief for the New England Patriots’ forfeiture of their first-round draft choice (New England Patriots Fans v. National Football League, et al., No. 18-P-269, Mass. App., 94 Mass. App. Ct. 1110).
SEATTLE — A trial court didn’t err in granting summary judgment or decertifying a class of consumers in a lawsuit over the advertised health benefits of Gerber Products Co. baby formula after the lead plaintiff failed to provide a sufficient basis for calculating restitution under California’s unfair competition law (UCL), False Advertising Law (FAL) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) or damages under the CLRA, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 14 (Oula Zakaria, et al. v. Gerber Products Co., et al., No. 17-56509, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32240).
PHILADELPHIA — A doctor’s initial class complaint filed in a Pennsylvania state court involving the same claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) later brought by the same doctor and his business in federal court did not toll the claims pursuant to American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Nov. 27 (Ari Weitzner, et al. v. Sanofi Pasteur Inc., et al., No. 17-3188, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33226).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country include complaints alleging trespass, false advertising of Black Friday deals, failure to protect children in foster care, gender discrimination in the workplace and fraud.
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on Nov. 16 certified three classes suing the issuers of debit cards for fees charged to Ohio inmates who had to surrender cash at the time of arrest and were given the cards to access any funds that remained following their release (Amber Humphrey, et al. v. Stored Value Cards, et al., No. 18-1050, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195811).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Dec. 4 certified a class of individuals who received unwanted text messages from a pizza chain franchisee, finding that a class will be superior to separate actions based on the small amount of damages and burdens of litigation (Brian Keim, et al. v. ADF MidAtlantic, LLC, et al., No. 12-80577, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204548).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Nov. 21 ordered Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. to provide discovery related to employees that could be members of a putative class alleging employment discrimination (Adriana Guzman, et al. v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., et al., No. 17-2606, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198933).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Nov. 26 denied preliminary approval of a $750,000 settlement proposed by a shoe maker seeking to end claims of consumer fraud related to its “made in USA” representations on certain shoes, finding that the proposed cy pres award failed to comply with Dennis v. Kellogg Co., the proposed preliminary injunction may be too broad and the proposed class and summary notice and claim form did not address concerns already expressed by the court (Sheila Dashnaw, et al. v. New Balance Athletics, Inc., No. 17-159, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199777).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A group of landowners on Nov. 30 filed a brief in Pennsylvania federal court contending that the district court should deny a hydraulic fracturing company’s motion to dismiss a royalty payment lawsuit because the company has acted contrary to the terms of the leases it signed with the landowners and that the motion is “rooted in” the company’s “penchant for overreach” (Timothy Tyler, et al. v. Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, No. 16-00456, M.D. Pa.).