Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
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
Waters v. Ferrara Candy Co.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order remanding a putative class action, alleging that Ferrara engaged in false, deceptive, and misleading conduct by selling substantially under-filled boxes of Red Hot candies, back to state court. The court held that, even if plaintiffs prevailed in this case, they will be entitled to monetary relief and attorney's fees well below $5 million, regardless of whether the monetary relief comes in the form of compensatory damages, restitution, or disgorgement. Furthermore, Ferrara's affidavits were insufficient to quantify, beyond mere speculation, the costs it would incur in complying with an award of injunctive relief in this case. View "Waters v. Ferrara Candy Co." on Justia Law
Alleruzzo v. SuperValu, Inc.
Plaintiff, shoppers who shopped at SuperValu stores that suffered data breaches, filed putative class actions alleging that hackers gained access to defendants' network because defendants failed to take adequate measures to protect customers' payment card information. The Eighth Circuit held that the complaint has not sufficiently alleged a substantial risk of identity theft, and plaintiffs' allegations of future injury did not support standing in this case. However, the complaint sufficiently alleged that one of the plaintiffs suffered an injury in fact, fairly traceable to defendants' security practices, and likely to be redressed by a favorable judgment. Because that plaintiff had Article III standing, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of his complaint. The court affirmed the dismissal as to the remaining plaintiffs and remanded for further proceedings. View "Alleruzzo v. SuperValu, Inc." on Justia Law
Kuhns v. Scottrade, Inc.
After hackers accessed the internal database of Scottrade, plaintiff and others filed a putative class action against Scottrade. The district court concluded that plaintiff lacked Article III standing because he had not suffered injury in fact and dismissed the Consolidated Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Eighth Circuit held that plaintiff had Article III standing because he alleged a concrete and particularized breach of contract and "actual" injury. The court held, however, that plaintiff failed to state a claim for breach of an express contract where the allegation that the failure of Scottrade's security measures was a breach of contract that diminished the benefit of plaintiff's bargain was not plausible; claims for breach of implied contract and unjust enrichment were dismissed for the same failure to allege plausible claims; plaintiff's bare bones claim for declaratory relief was virtually unintelligible; and plaintiff failed to plausibly allege how failing to discover and notify customers of the data breach qualified as an unfair or deceptive trade practice under the state statute. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. View "Kuhns v. Scottrade, Inc." on Justia Law