Archives: Consumer Fraud

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Once Again, Clapper Defeats Data Breach Class Action

Article III standing has once again proved to be an insurmountable hurdle for data breach class action plaintiffs whose personal information hasn’t been misused.  In Galaria v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., an Ohio federal court relied on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Clapper v. Amnesty Intern. USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138 (2013), and held … Continue Reading

Consumer Products Settlements Containing Cy Pres Distributions Receiving Increased Scrutiny

In a recent decision, In re Baby Products Antitrust Litigation, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 3379 (3d Cir. Feb. 19, 2013), the Third Circuit vacated the district court’s order approving a $35.5 million class action settlement which provided for the distribution of remaining settlement funds, after individual distributions were made to claimants and costs and attorneys’ … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Echoes California and Disavows Data Mining by Zip Code

In a decision last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that zip codes are personally identifiable information, perhaps serving as a harbinger for other state court decisions still to come. This ruling is important for all retailers when considering their privacy practices in conjunction with ever-evolving privacy laws, especially in the class action context. In Tyler … Continue Reading

Disproportionately Favoring the Named Plaintiffs Kills Settlement, Says Sixth Circuit

The Sixth Circuit recently limited defendants’ ability to craft settlements that disproportionately favor the class representatives.  Vassalle v. Midland Funding LLC, — F.3d –, 2013 WL 673517 (6th Cir. Feb. 26, 2013).  Though the court did not pass on the ubiquitous incentive award, its skepticism of “preferential treatment” for class representatives might cause district courts … Continue Reading

Individualized Causation and Reliance Defenses Render Class Representative Inadequate in the Northern District of Illinois

Class action defense practitioners routinely face uphill battles on the issue of individualized defenses for class members. However, these arguments should not be overlooked as tools to defeat class certification. Lipton v. Chattem, Inc., No. 11 C 2952, 2013 WL 489147 (N.D. Il. Feb. 8, 2013), a recent case out of the Northern District of … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Certifies Washing Machine Class Action on Efficiency Grounds

In Butler v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., No. 11-8029 (7th Cir. Nov. 13, 2012), a decision authored by Judge Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the question of predominance in class actions “is a question of efficiency,” whether it’s more efficient to litigate issues on a class-wide basis or all issues in separate trials.  While … Continue Reading

Class Cannot Be Certified in Facebook Advertiser “Click” Litigation Because Alleged Contract Does Not Exist

Fraud class actions have become increasingly difficult to certify over the years as courts routinely have held that individualized issues of reliance swamp any common issues. Plaintiffs’ attorneys thus have been keen to attempt to transform fraud claims into breach of contract claims and claims under consumer protection statutes.  That approach failed miserably for plaintiffs in In re Facebook, Inc. PPC Advertising … Continue Reading

Individual Causation Issues and Lack of Uniformity in Sales Practices Mean No Certification in Consumer Fraud Class Action

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently refused to certify a proposed class in a dispute against an insurance company selling annuities to seniors because individualized inquiries into the company’s sales presentations precluded satisfaction of the predominance criterion required for certification.  In Rowe et al. v. Bankers Life and Casualty … Continue Reading

Uncertainty Persists Regarding Insurance Companies’ Exemption from Liability Under California’s Unfair Competition Law

The issue of whether insurance companies enjoy any special exemption from California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) liability has been a hotly litigated topic since the California Supreme Court’s 1988 decision in Moradi-Shalal v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Cos. 46 Cal.3d 287 (1988), and has been currently pending before the same court since it accepted review of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Affirms That One State’s Laws Cannot Apply to a Nationwide Class and That a Presumption of Reliance Was Improper

In Mazza v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., 666 F.3d 581 (9th Cir. 2012), the Ninth Circuit reversed certification of a nationwide class of automobile consumers, rejecting the district court’s choice of law and predominance analyses.  Though a split-decision, the Mazza majority reinforced states’ individual interests and ability to regulate consumer transactions occurring within their … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Denies Certification of UCL Claim

The Eighth Circuit’s 2010 decision in Avritt v. Reliastar Life Insurance Co., 615 F.3d 1023 (8th Cir. 2010) denied class certification for, among other claims, a California Unfair Competition Law claim where class members could not prove through uniform evidence that the defendants engaged in misconduct.  Two subsequent California federal cases have, however, not been … Continue Reading
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