Class Action & Mass Torts

Companies may be inclined to offer “coupons” or similar benefits to settle consumer class actions. While offering coupons is permissible, in In re Easysaver Rewards Litigation, No. 16-56307, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 28000 (9th Cir. Oct. 3, 2018), the Ninth Circuit has reaffirmed that the full face value of coupons cannot be included when calculating the total value of the settlement, which may reduce the attorneys’ fees awarded to Plaintiffs’ class counsel.…
Employer Performance-Based Rate Scheme for Automobile Repair Upheld Under California Law With many of the easy targets for wage and hour matters gone (e.g., misclassification of assistant managers), plaintiffs’ counsel have increasingly turned to technical overtime or minimum wage violations as a vehicle to bring class or collective action litigation. As a recent claim reflects, that doesn’t always work, particularly where the challenged practices actually help the employees.…
In Jones v. Farmers Ins. Exchange (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 986 (“Jones”), the California Court of Appeal held that “[t]he lack of an adequate class representative … does not justify the denial of the certification motion.  Instead, the trial court must allow Plaintiff[[] an opportunity to amend [his] complaint to name a suitable class representative.  [Citation & fn. omitted.]  The court should then grant the certification motion if it approves a class representative.”  Id. at 999. …
Long-anticipated changes to California’s Proposition 65 warning requirements took effect on August 30, 2018, through amendments and new rules issued by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Among other changes, the new rules now (1) require businesses to provide California consumers with product warnings at the time of purchase, including at the time of online purchases; and (2) change the text of the warnings that businesses may use to qualify for “safe harbor”…
By Gerald L. Maatman, Jr. and Michael L. DeMarino Seyfarth Synopsis: The government’s anti-discrimination watchdog can be extremely aggressive in pursuing discrimination claims, including pursuing those claims after an employer files for bankruptcy. Normally, after a bankruptcy petition is filed, the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay enjoins other actions against the debtor. But in EEOC v. Tim Shepard M.D., PA d/b/a Shepherd Healthcare, 17-CV-02569 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 11, 2018), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District…
The key question in many Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuits is whether the equipment used to call the plaintiff constitutes an autodialer—that is, an “automatic telephone dialing system” or ATDS—within the meaning of the statute.  TCPA practitioners have been awaiting the FCC’s guidance regarding the definition of an autodialer.  Last spring, the D.C. Circuit set aside the FCC’s expansive definition of that term as arbitrary and capricious.  (See our report on the D.C. Circuit’s ruling…
On October 3, 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court made its long-awaited decision in the Accutane Multicounty Litigation. Developed by the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche, Accutane is a prescription acne treatment that has been found to be linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Numerous plaintiffs filed lawsuits in New Jersey, essentially claiming that, based upon the drug maker’s own internal documents, Accutane’s warnings should have been stronger in stating that Accutane has been…
As the saying goes: “Everything in moderation— especially communications from defendant employers to putative members of a class action suit.” While this might not be exactly how the saying goes, a trial court in Massachusetts recently found that such a principle does limit how and when defendants can contact members of a putative class action.  In Frost v. Malden/Dockside, Inc.,[1] the plaintiff sought to limit the defendant employer from communicating with putative class members…
The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Home Depot U.S.A. Inc. v. Jackson, No. 17-1471 to decide whether a defendant to a class-action counterclaim can remove the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) where the jurisdictional requirements under CAFA are otherwise satisfied. At one level, the dispute involves the meaning of “any” versus “the,” an esoteric battle that only a lexicographer or civil procedure nerd would find interesting. At…