Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Calon v. Bank of America Corp.
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
Schumacher v. SC Data Center, Inc.
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
Oetting v. Sosne
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
Postawko v. Missouri Department of Corrections
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
Stuart v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.
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
Faltermeier v. FCA US LLC
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
Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human Services
The Eighth Circuit affirmed a post-judgment order concluding that the district court retained jurisdiction to enforce the stipulated class action settlement agreement MDHS entered into with plaintiffs. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal based on the collateral order doctrine, the court held that the district court did not err in determining that, under Minnesota contract law, the jurisdictional provision of the settlement agreement was ambiguous on its face. The court further held that the extrinsic evidence showed that the provision permitted the district court to extend its jurisdiction as it deemed just and equitable. View "Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human Services" on Justia Law
Pollard v. Frost
Objectors challenged the district court's order granting final approval of a class action settlement agreement between Remington and a class of members that alleged Remington rifles were susceptible to unintentional firing without a trigger pull. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, holding that the notice plan was adequate and satisfied the methods and mechanisms for disseminating notice set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. In this case, the notice of the settlement was adequate as the supplemental notice plan included a social media campaign, radio advertising, email notices, direct mailings and vendor posters. Furthermore, the low claim submission rate, while not ideal, was not necessarily indicative of a deficient notice plan. Finally, the proposed settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate where the record made plain that it followed meaningful discovery and investigation by class counsel and arm's length negotiations. View "Pollard v. Frost" on Justia Law
Ortiz v. Ferrellgas Partners, L.P.
Defendants are the nation’s largest distributors of pre-filled propane exchange tanks, which come in a standard size. Before 2008, Defendants filled the tanks with 17 pounds of propane. In 2008, due to rising prices, Defendants reduced the amount in each tato 15 pounds, maintaining the same price. Plaintiffs, indirect purchasers, who bought tanks from retailers, claimed this effectively raised the price. In 2009, plaintiffs filed a class action alleging conspiracy under the Sherman Act. Plaintiffs settled with both Defendants. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against Defendants, which settled in 2015 by consent orders, for conspiring to artificially inflate tank prices. In 2014, another group of indirect purchasers (Ortiz) brought a class action against Defendants, alleging: “Despite their settlements, Defendants continued to conspire, and ... maintained their illegally agreed-upon fill levels, preserving the unlawfully inflated prices." The Ortiz suit became part of a multidistrict proceeding that included similar allegations by direct purchasers (who bought tanks directly from Defendants for resale). The Eighth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the direct-purchaser suit as time-barred, holding that each sale in a price-fixing conspiracy starts the statutory period running again. The court subsequently held that the indirect purchasers inadequately pled an injury-in-fact and lack standing to pursue an injunction to increase the fill levels of the tanks and may not seek disgorgement of profits. View "Ortiz v. Ferrellgas Partners, L.P." on Justia Law
Sciaroni v. Target Corp.
At issue in this appeal was the certification of a class composed of individuals whose payment card information was compromised as a result of the 2013 Target security breach. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's recertification of the class on remand, holding that the district court did not err in certifying the proposed class, which included both persons who suffered an actual financial loss and those who had not yet suffered a loss. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by including the costs of notice and administration expenses as a benefit to the class as a whole in calculating the total benefit to the class, and in finding that the settlement agreement was fair, reasonable, and adequate. Finally, the court affirmed the attorneys' fee award. View "Sciaroni v. Target Corp." on Justia Law