WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. veterans who were present at the 1966 cleanup of plutonium dust in Palomares, Spain, moved Dec. 11 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for class certification in a lawsuit alleging that they were improperly denied service-connected disability compensation based on exposure to ionizing radiation (Victor B. Skaar v. David J. Shulkin, M.D., No. 17-2574, Vet. Clms.).
PHOENIX — A group of noncitizens with deferred action designations from the federal government who are suing seeking Arizona driver’s licenses were granted partial class certification on Dec. 6 by an Arizona federal judge (Lucrecia Rivas Valenzuela, et al. v. Doug Ducey, et al., No. 16-3072, D. Ariz., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200712).
Recent class action lawsuits filed in federal courts across the country include complaints alleging deplorable prison conditions, illegal debt collection practices, wage-and-hour violations and breach of contract.
PHILADELPHIA — Three owners or leasers of Mercedes-Benz USA LLC (MBUSA) who filed a class complaint accusing the car maker of selling vehicles with faulty wheels failed to show that their motion for class certification should have been granted or that the subsequent grant of summary judgment to MBUSA on their individual claims was wrongly denied, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 5 (Vincent Luppino, et al. v. Mercedes Benz USA, No. 16-3762, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24511).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 6 granted final approval of a $208,664,445 settlement to be paid by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to end all actions but one in a multidistrict litigation by student athletes who attended Division I schools and would have been awarded the full cost of attendance (COA) at those schools, but for the NCAA bylaw in effect until Jan. 1, 2015, that capped the maximum grant-in-aid at less than the COA (In Re: National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litigation, No. 14-2541, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201104).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 11 upheld a ruling compelling arbitration in a class complaint brought by wireless customers who allege that AT&T Mobility LLC purposely slows data for “unlimited” customers, finding that there is no state action in the case and awarding costs to AT&T (Marcus A. Roberts, et al. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 16-16915, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24946).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Dec. 6 issued a transfer order centralizing 97 cases pending in various districts over Equifax Inc.’s recently announced data breach in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (In Re: Equifax, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 2800, JPMDL, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200507).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Dec. 12 refused to remand a consumer’s claims for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and fraud against a rental car service until the parties can conduct additional discovery on whether the case meets the federal amount-in-controversy requirement for a class action (Jian-Ming “Scott” Zhao v. RelayRides Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-04099, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204415).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A California federal judge on Dec. 5 granted preliminary approval of an $8.5 million settlement to be paid by The TJX Cos. Inc., T.J. Maxx of CA LLC, Marshalls of CA LLC and HomeGoods Inc. to end class claims that the defendants used higher “Compare At” prices to make their “sale” prices look like a better deal (Staci Chester, et al. v. The TJX Companies, Inc., et al., No. 15-1437, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 201121).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Dec. 8 granted a motion for conditional certification of a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim brought by current and former employees of Sephora USA Inc. but denied the plaintiffs’ request for equitable tolling (Lacey Hernandez, et al. v. Sephora USA, Inc., No. 16-5392, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203452).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Dec. 11 stayed the proceedings in a wage-and-hour class complaint filed by a restaurant employee in which the defendants moved to compel arbitration, pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Morris v. Ernst & Young LLP, 834 F. 3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016), certiorari granted, Ernst & Young, LLP v. Morris, 137 S. Ct. 809 (2017) (Jener Da Silva v. Darden Restaurants, Inc., et al., No. 17-5663, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203437).
MIAMI — A Florida magistrate federal judge on Dec. 12 denied a request to reconsider his October ruling in which he re-designated counterclaims by a gun importer facing a class complaint alleging that its .357 revolvers are defective and can misfire as an affirmative defense and refused to strike it (Suzanne M. Bedwell, et al. v. Braztech International, L.C., No. 17-22335, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204027).
WARREN, Ohio — A divided Ohio appeals court panel on Dec. 11 upheld certification of a class of sales people suing the employer for “pulling” earned commissions, finding that the fact that the class definition encompasses some employees who signed an arbitration agreement not signed by the class representative does not doom the certification (Edward G. Gembarski, et al. v. PartsSource, Inc., No. 2016-P-0077, Ohio App., 11st Dist., 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 5383).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Dec. 8 partially granted conditional certification in a class complaint brought by a restaurant franchise assistant manager (AM) who alleges that she and others were misclassified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois wage laws but granted a motion to dismiss by one of the franchisee defendants and gave the lead plaintiff one month to amend her complaint to show that that the defendant was her employer (Chamora Ivery, et al. v. RMH Franchise Corp., et al., No. 17-1619, N.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202270).
CHICAGO — Noting that a settlement in a class suit over gift card fees that provided the attorneys with more compensation than the class members was not perfect, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 affirmed it nonetheless, ruling that the district court chose the better option (Saul M. Kaufman, et al. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., No. 16-1691, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24698).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 7 reversed the denial of class certification in a wage-and-hour complaint, finding that the pleadings provided sufficient notice to the employer of violations of California Labor Code Section 226(a) violations, whether direct or derivative, and the district court must conduct a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 analysis (Silken Brown, et al. v. Cinemark USA, Inc., et al., No. 16-15377, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24764).
SAN FRANCISCO — An investor group is the most appropriate candidate for lead plaintiff because it has the largest financial stake in the litigation and meets all other statutory requirements to serve in the role, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 8 in appointing the investor group as lead plaintiff (Inchen Huang v. Depomed Inc., et al., No. 17-4830, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202580).
SAN FRANCISCO — On Dec. 8, the same day that a group of plaintiffs moved for class certification in their claims under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) against Facebook Inc., the social network moved for summary judgment, telling a California federal court that applying the Illinois law to its out-of-state facial recognition activities would violate the dormant commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, No. 3:15-cv-03747, N.D. Calif.).
HELENA, Mont. — A judge improperly ignored the prejudice a class suffered when allowing a health insurer to raise Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 defenses after the class certification was granted and the decision affirmed on appeal, a divided Montana Supreme Court held in an opinion released for publication on Nov. 24 (Dana Rolan, et al. v. New West Health Services, No. DA 17-0009, Mont. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — Parties in an appeal of a securities class action lawsuit against a company and certain of its current and former executive officers and directors recently asked the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to determine whether a federal district court erred in denying a lead plaintiff’s request for leave to amend its complaint (City of Cambridge Retirement System, et al. v. Altisource Asset Management Corp., et al., No. 17-2471, 3rd Cir.).