DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado on Oct. 15 issued orders selecting interim lead counsel for 10 consolidated class complaints accusing the owner of multiple ski resorts of breaching its contract with season passholders when it closed in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak and failed to issue refunds and denying a motion for protective order and correction action filed after the resort began offering passholders credits (Bernard Han v. Vail Resorts, Inc., No. 20-1121, D. Colo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190784, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190785).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 19 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by two consumers suing over prescription pet food claims and seeking a decision on whether a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over putative class state law claims concerning the perceived quality of the product and the resulting price (Anastasia Wullschleger, et al. v. Royal Canin U.S.A., Inc., et al., No. 20-152, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Oct. 12 entered final approval of an $18.5 million settlement for a nationwide class of borrowers who allege that they were denied loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) by Wells Fargo Bank NA as a result of an algorithmic error in its software glitch in the lender’s software, finding that the terms of the settlement were fair and reasonable (Alicia Hernandez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, et al., No. 18-7354, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188669).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Oct. 14 declined to stay a preliminary injunction in a class complaint filed by two prisoners who allege that they and others have been wrongfully denied economic impact payment (EIP) benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, certified a litigation class and partially granted the prisoners’ motion for summary judgment as to one claim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), writing that the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have not provided any reasons for excluding incarcerated individuals from receiving payments (Colin Scholl, et al. v. Steven Mnuchin, et al., No. 20-5309, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191400).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 13 granted Apple Inc.’s motion to dismiss a California unfair competition law (UCL) claim and other claims to the extent that they seek an injunction, restitution or other equitable relief, finding that plaintiffs failed to allege that they lack an adequate remedy at law in their class action complaint brought on behalf of purchasers of purportedly defective MacBook laptops with butterfly keyboards (In re MacBook Keyboard Litigation, No. 18-02813, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190508).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 1 granted final approval of a more than $2.8 million settlement to be paid by a cosmetic company to end claims that it sent out unwanted text messages but denied the lead plaintiff’s request for a service award in light of a recent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling (Anita Jairam, et al. v. Colourpop Cosmetics, LLC, No. 19-62438, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181656).
PEORIA, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Oct. 8 partially granted a motion by a restaurant chain to dismiss or stay a class complaint over its collection of employees biometric data via its timekeeping system and staying proceedings pending arbitration, ruling that the agreement leaves to an arbitrator to decide the enforceability (Austin Kuznik, et al. v. Hooters of America, LLC, et al., No. 20-1255, C.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186548).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A trial court didn’t err in a restaurant worker’s wage-and-hour class suit by declining to test the sufficiency of the worker’s legal theory or outlining what the class needed to prove to prevail before granting class certification, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Oct. 6 (Jacqueline Rodriguez v. Kaiaffa, LLC, et al., No. SC 20274, Conn. Sup., 2020 Conn. LEXIS 226).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An arbitration clause containing no delegation of gateway questions to arbitrator means a court, not an arbitrator, decides arbitrability, Archer and White Sales Inc., a dental product company, argues in its respondent brief filed Oct. 13 in the U.S. Supreme Court, adding that incorporation of American Arbitration Association (AAA) rules doesn’t change anything (Henry Schein Inc. v. Archer and White Sales Inc., No. 19-963, U.S. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 13 granted the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) emergency motion to stay a permanent injunction that had been scheduled to take effect Oct. 14 following a district court’s findings in a class complaint that insufficient actions were taken to protect inmates housed in a Texas prison primarily for elderly individuals and those with health issues from the novel coronavirus (Laddy Curtis Valentine, et al. v. Bryan Collier, et al., No. 20-20525, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32325).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Catholic University of America student who filed a putative class complaint against the school over the mid-March transition to online learning due to the novel coronavirus filed an opposition to dismissal on Oct. 9 in a District of Columbia federal court, arguing that she has alleged cognizable claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment (Daniella Montesano, et al. v. The Catholic University of America, No. 20-1496, D. D.C.).
ATLANTA — Plaintiffs who asserted breach of fiduciary duty class claims against their company and 401(k) plan investment manager filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval on Oct. 12, seeking a Georgia federal’s court’s approval of an almost $40 million settlement between the parties (Ronda A. Pledger, et al. v. Reliance Trust Co., et al., No. 1:15-cv-04444, N.D. Ga.).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has given both sides in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class dispute until Oct. 22 to file petitions for rehearing after a split panel ruled Sept. 17 that a $6,000 incentive award as part of a settlement agreement for the class representative’s “‘role in prosecuting th[e] case on behalf of the [c]lass [m]embers’” violated century-old Supreme Court precedent as it is “part salary and part bounty” (Jenna Dickenson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, No. 18-12344, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 29682).
NEW YORK — A federal district court did not abuse its discretion in granting final approval to a $6.5 million settlement in a securities class action lawsuit because the court properly considered each of the nine factors established in City of Detroit v. Grinnell Corp. before determining that the proposed settlement agreement was fair, reasonable and adequate, a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 2 (Aric McIntire, et al. v. ODS Capital LLC, et al., No. 19-3748, 2nd Cir., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31434).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Oct. 7 modified and clarified a preliminary injunction issued in April in a class complaint by individuals being held in federal immigration detention centers who are seeking release of high-risk individuals due to the novel coronavirus pandemic due to “noncompliance” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (Faour Abdallah Fraihat, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, et al., No. 19-1546, C.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH — A putative class complaint accusing a retailer of cluttered isles and pathways in its Pennsylvania stores that impede disabled shoppers’ access to the stores survives a motion for dismissal as it sufficiently pleads facts of denial of “full and equal access” to its goods and services, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Sept. 29 (Ronald J. Migyanko, et al. v. Kohl’s Corporation, No. 20-328, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179260).
LANSING, Mich. — In two of the latest rulings in putative class complaints by students accusing multiple Michigan universities of breach of contract and unjust enrichment in connection with their responses in mid-March to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Michigan judge on Oct. 1 issued two similar opinions partially granting the universities’ motions for summary disposition, finding that no express contracts existed regarding tuition, room and board and fees but permitting the students to proceed with alternative claims for unjust enrichment (Annissa Stenger v. Ferris State University, et al., No. 20-84, Mich. Clms., 2020 Mich. Ct. Cl. LEXIS 5, James Allen v. Michigan State University, et al., No. 20-57, Mich. Clms., 2020 Mich. Ct. Cl. LEXIS 6).
CHICAGO — A collection letter that included an itemized breakdown and made statements regarding no interest or fees being added during the present time “would not confuse or mislead the reasonable unsophisticated consumer,” a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 8, affirming dismissal of a putative class complaint alleging that the letter violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (Joseph Degroot, et al. v. Client Services, Incorporated, No. 20-1089, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 31951).
PORTLAND, Ore. — A split Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Oct. 9 denied a motion for an emergency stay by two federal agencies in a putative class complaint by journalists and legal observers who claim that they have been targeted by police and federal agents while covering protests in Portland, writing that the agencies have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits or sufficiently showed irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction was “not stayed pending a decision on the merits of their appeal” (Index Newspapers LLC, et al. v. United States Marshals Service, et al., No. 20-35739, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 32103).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 29 certified a class of participants in and beneficiaries of an individual account defined-contribution plan for Verizon Communications Inc. management employees who allege breach of fiduciary duty for failure to properly monitor and take action regarding a poorly performing investment option (Melina N. Jacobs, et al. v. Verizon Communications, Inc., et al., No.1 6-1082, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179421).