Tom Gilbertsen

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Two recent appellate decisions demonstrate opposing ends of the discretionary spectrum on which class settlements are approved or rejected.  In one case – In re Baby Products Antitrust Litigation – the Third Circuit overturned an antitrust class action settlement, ruling that the trial court abused its discretion by pre-approving a charitable donation of undistributed settlement funds before determining the total value of settlement funds claimed by class members.  Many of my fellow class action practitioners…
In Reliable Money Order, Inc. v. McKnight Sales Co., Inc., decided last week, the Seventh Circuit declined to overturn class certification of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act junk fax suit, despite class counsel obtaining discovery from a third party in one case and using it to spawn a series of other TCPA cases.  The plaintiff lawyer had assured a third-party vendor that it would treat the information produced lists of businesses to whom the…
Last week a California appeals court invalidated a car dealer’s mandatory arbitration and class waiver clause, holding the sales contract’s arbitration clause unconscionable and therefore unenforceable to defeat a putative class action.  In Natalini v. Import Motors, Inc. , plaintiff sued under state consumer protection statutes alleging that a car and its tires that he purchased from defendant were sold as new when in fact they were used.  When defendant Import Motors moved to compel…