Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Class Action

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Objector was a member of a California class action against Monsanto that alleged that the company used misleading labeling on its Roundup concentrate herbicide. After certification of the class, class counsel filed this action on behalf of a putative class of consumers from the other 49 states. Objector objected to certification of the nationwide class and to the fairness of the settlement on several grounds. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's overruling of the objection and grant of final approval. The court held that the class members were adequately represented and that the settlement was reasonable, fair, and adequate. View "Rawa v. Migliaccio" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiff filed suit against the police chief, the city, and other public officials, alleging violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). After the police chief admitted liability for six violations of the Act, the jury awarded plaintiff punitive damages. The district court ruled that plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that the city was directly liable for the violations, but authorized the jury's finding that the city was vicariously liable for the police chief's actions. The Eighth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by ruling that plaintiff's proposed class failed to satisfy the numerosity requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3); the district court properly refused to entertain direct liability against the city where the police chief acted for personal reasons, not under the auspices of official policymaking authority, and thus his actions did not represent a policy of the city; the district court correctly construed the civil action provisions of the Act to incorporate background tort-related rules of vicarious liability; the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain evidence at trial; and the district court did not err in declining to award requested costs. The court rejected plaintiff's remaining claims and denied the city's motion to strike portions of plaintiff's appendix and brief. View "Orduno v. Pietrzak" on Justia Law

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Four groups of prospective intervenors challenged the district court's denials of their motions to intervene in a class action lawsuit by named plaintiff Connie Jean Smith against SEECO, as well as the district court's procedures for opting-out from the class. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling that Charter Land's motion to intervene was untimely because it merely repeated arguments already advanced by other attempted intervenors after the class was unsuccessful. The court dismissed the remaining appeals for lack of jurisdiction because the appeals were not filed within 30 days of the district court's order denying intervention. View "Smith v. Arnett" on Justia Law

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Former employees of Honeywell, who retired before age 65 during the terms of Honeywell's 2007 and 2010 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), filed a class action alleging that Honeywell's announced plan to terminate early retiree healthcare benefits at the end of 2017 breached the CBAs and violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), because those healthcare benefits vested when each class member retired. The Eighth Circuit agreed with the Sixth Circuit and held that the Supreme Court's decision in CNH Indus. N.V. v. Reese, 138 S. Ct. 761 (2018), was controlling in this case. Under Reese, the court held that plaintiffs' retiree healthcare benefits were not vested as a matter of law. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Pacheco v. Honeywell International Inc." on Justia Law

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After plaintiff obtained a home equity loan from Countrywide, he filed a pro se complaint alleging five causes of action against Bank of America, the company that acquired Countrywide. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of two claims based on Bank of America's failure to honor plaintiff's alleged early payoff right. In this case, plaintiff's claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata because he had been a member of a global class action settlement that included a broad release of claims by all class members. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by promptly setting the remaining claims for trial. The court explained that, at minimum, Bank of America failed to establish that the statute of frauds barred these claims as a matter of law on the record. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Calon v. Bank of America Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Class Action

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The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court's approval of a settlement agreement in a purported class action alleging that SC Data Center committed three violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The court held that the district court erred by not assessing whether the class representative had standing before enforcing the settlement agreement. Therefore, the court remanded for the district court to address the standing issue. View "Schumacher v. SC Data Center, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The class representative of federal securities class actions appealed the dismissal of the unsecured creditor claim and amended claim he filed in the pending Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding of lead class counsel, Green Jacobson, P.C. The Eighth Circuit held that the claim for the cy pres distribution was no longer an issue because the distribution had been returned by the charity and deposited with the district court clerk for ultimate distribution for the benefit of the NationsBank class; the negligent supervision claim was time-barred; the disgorgement claim was not time-barred by Missouri's five year statute of limitations; and the bankruptcy court did not err in disallowing the bankruptcy claim as premature and lacking in supporting foundation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Oetting v. Sosne" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sought class certification for their claims alleging that the MDOC and other related defendants violated the Eighth Amendment and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by providing inadequate medical screening and care for chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) viral infections. Plaintiffs alleged that the MDOC's policies exposed the class to a substantial risk of serious harm. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of class certification, holding that the evidence was sufficient to permit the district court to conduct a rigorous analysis into class certification; the numerosity, commonality, and typicality requirements were met in light of the prospective injunctive and declaratory relief sought; and sufficient evidence of a common policy existed to comply with Rule 23(b)(2). Finally, the court noted that federalism concerns could be considered after the district court imposed an equitable remedy if applicable, and ADA-reated arguments did not relate to the class certification. View "Postawko v. Missouri Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order certifying a class of Arkansas homeowners who alleged that State Farm improperly withheld amounts for labor depreciation when making payments under their insurance policies. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that plaintiffs' claims shared a common, predominating question of law. In this case, plaintiffs' theory was that State Farm violated its contractual obligations by depreciating both materials and labor when calculating ACV, thereby reducing the size of their ACV payments. The court also held that the district court properly noted that the class members' claims were generally small and unlikely to be pursued individually; that concentrating the claims in a single forum was desirable; and that it did not anticipate unreasonable difficulty in managing the class action. The court explained that the fact that some plaintiffs may be unable to succeed on their claims did not necessarily mean that they lack standing to sue. Finally, the court modified the certification order to exclude those subject to another settlement from the class definition. View "Stuart v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in an action alleging that FCA violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) by making deceptive representations about the safety of certain Jeep vehicles. Plaintiff also appealed the denial of his motion to remand to state court. The Eighth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) where the amount in controversy jurisdictional limit was satisfied after taking into consideration the sum of damages and the amount of potential attorneys' fees. The court held that plaintiff's claim under the MMPA failed where his purchase had no relationship with the alleged misrepresentation regarding the vehicles' safety. In this case, there was no evidence suggesting that either the seller or the buyer was aware of the misrepresentation, nor was the intermediary seller an unwitting conduit for passing on the substance of the misrepresentation. View "Faltermeier v. FCA US LLC" on Justia Law