Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Jackson v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc.
Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S. Ct. 547 (2014), did not undermine Palisades Collections LLC v. Shorts, 552 F.3d 327, 331 (4th Cir. 2008). In this case, Home Depot filed a Petition for Permission to Appeal the district court's order remanding to state court. The Fourth Circuit deferred ruling on the petition pending consideration of the merits of the appeal. The court held that the Supreme Court has not called into question Palisades's conclusion that an additional counter-defendant is not entitled to remove under 28 U.S.C. 1441(a) or 1453(b), nor has it abandoned Shamrock Oil’s definition of "defendant" in the class action context. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108 (1941). The court held that Palisades applied to Home Depot. The court also held that the district court properly declined to realign the parties and correctly remanded to state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.. View "Jackson v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc." on Justia Law
Scott v. Cricket Communications, LLC
After Cricket removed this class action from state court by invoking Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), jurisdiction, the district court granted plaintiff's motion to remand. The court vacated and remanded, holding that the district court applied the wrong legal standard to Cricket's evidence. The court explained that, because the district court committed legal error in disregarding Cricket's evidence as overinclusive, the court was unable to engage in appellate review to determine whether Cricket met its burden to prove jurisdiction. View "Scott v. Cricket Communications, LLC" on Justia Law
Abella Owners’ Ass’n v. MI Windows & Doors, Inc.
A California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, Abella, sought relief from the enforcement of a final class action judgment against MI Windows entered in this multidistrict litigation. The district court rejected Abella's arguments that the district court lacked authority to enjoin its prosecution of the state action against MI Windows and that Abella should not be bound by the class action judgment because of the excusable neglect of its counsel in overlooking the opt-out deadline. The Fourth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court's injunction was justified by the "relitigation exception" of the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 2283, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the neglect of Abella's counsel was not excusable. View "Abella Owners’ Ass'n v. MI Windows & Doors, Inc." on Justia Law
Berry v. LexisNexis Risk and Info.
This dispute centers around Lexis’s sale of personal data reports to debt collectors. Plaintiffs alleged that Lexis failed to provide the protections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681, et seq., in connection with its reports. The district court subsequently certified a settlement class. In this appeal, a group of class members claim the right to opt out of the settlement class and pursue statutory damages individually seeking to undo that settlement. At issue is the the (b)(2) Class, which includes all individuals in the United States about whom the Accurint database contained information from November 2006 to April 2013 – roughly 200 million people. The court affirmed the district court's decision, finding no error in the release of the statutory damages claims as part of a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2) settlement, and no abuse of discretion in the district court’s approval of the settlement agreement. View "Berry v. LexisNexis Risk and Info." on Justia Law
Brown v. Nucor Corp.
In this putative class action, plaintiffs are a class of black steel workers who allege endemic racial discrimination at a South Carolina plant owned by Nucor. At issue was whether the workers have presented a common question of employment discrimination through evidence of racism in the workplace. In light of the Supreme Court's opinion in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the district court on remand refused to certify the class. The court held that the district court has for a second time erred in refusing to certify the workers’ class, where (1) statistics indicate that promotions at Nucor depended in part on whether an individual was black or white; (2) substantial anecdotal evidence suggests discrimination in specific promotions decisions in multiple plant departments; and (3) there is also significant evidence that those promotions decisions were made in the context of a racially hostile work environment. The court concluded that the district court fundamentally misapprehended the reach of Wal-mart and its application to the workers' promotions class. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded for recertification of the class. View "Brown v. Nucor Corp." on Justia Law
EQT Production Co. v. Adair
This appeal arose from the district court's decision to certify five related class action suits where plaintiffs in each case generally alleged that EQT and CNX have unlawfully deprived the class members of royalty payments from the production of coalbed methane gas (CBM) in Virginia. The court granted defendants' petition to appeal the five orders granting class certification and concluded that the district court abused its discretion when it certified the five classes. The court held that the district court's analysis lacked the requisite rigor to ensure that the requirements of Rule 23 were satisfied by any of the certified classes. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "EQT Production Co. v. Adair" on Justia Law
Quicken Loans Inc. v. Alig
Plaintiffs filed suit in state court alleging that Quicken Loans originated unlawful loans in West Virginia and that Defendant Appraisers, which included both the named appraisers and the unnamed class of appraisers, were complicit in the scheme. Quicken Loans removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The district court then granted plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court under the local controversy exception. Quicken Loans appealed. The court vacated and remanded for a determination by the district court as to whether the named defendant appraisers satisfied the "at least 1 defendant" requirement of the local controversy exception. View "Quicken Loans Inc. v. Alig" on Justia Law
Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc.
A putative class of female former and current managers of Family Dollar stores filed suit alleging violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, and Section 216(b) of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. 206(d). The court found that the district court's denial of leave to amend the complaint was based on an erroneous interpretation of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, and the denial was thus an abuse of discretion. Without resolving the class certification issue, the court reversed and remanded for the district court to consider whether, based on the court's interpretation of Wal-Mart, the proposed amended complaint satisfied the class certification requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. View "Scott v. Family Dollar Stores, Inc." on Justia Law
Ackerman v. ExxonMobil Corp.
This case concerned a class action filed against defendants for contamination of plaintiffs' properties by gasoline and a gasoline additive (the Koch action). Former Koch class members subsequently filed a new class action (the Ackerman action). On appeal, defendants challenged the district court's order abstaining from exercising jurisdiction under the Colorado River doctrine. The court held that 28 U.S.C. 1446(d) affected only the jurisdiction of the state court only with regard to the case actually removed to federal court; because Koch was not removed, the state court maintained jurisdiction over it, and the amendment to the complaint in that case was not void ab initio; and the district court was correct to consider the amended Koch complaint in determining whether the Koch and Ackerman actions were parallel, and the district court did not abuse its discretion when concluding that exceptional circumstances warranted abstention in favor of the pending Koch action. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Ackerman v. ExxonMobil Corp." on Justia Law
Unspam Technologies v. Chernuk
Plaintiffs commenced this putative class action alleging that defendants participated in a global Internet conspiracy to sell illegal prescription drugs, in violation of the laws of the United States and Virginia. At issue on appeal was whether the district court erred in dismissing the complaint against four foreign banks for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court concluded that Rule 4(k)(2) did not justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the banks because exercising jurisdiction over them would not, in the circumstances here, be consistent with the United States Constitution and laws. Subjecting the banks to the coercive power of the court in the United States, in the absence of minimum contacts, would constitute a violation of the Due Process Clause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's orders dismissing the complaint against the banks. View "Unspam Technologies v. Chernuk" on Justia Law