Human v. Mouse

What conceivable correlation exists between class actions and pests?

No, it’s not that.  At least not for Jeanne Steigerwald.

Hers was a story that started, she claimed, when she noticed “mice droppings in her pantry, kitchen, and garage.”  That propelled her to Walmart, where she dropped around $25 for a three-pack of “Ultrasonic Pest Repellers.” Continue reading “Human v. Mouse”

Ohio Appeals Court Dents Plaintiffs’ Class Certification Motion

Four independent auto body shops sued Progressive Casualty Insurance Company in state court in Cleveland.  Their gripe?  They claimed that they repaired Progressive-covered vehicles but that Progressive tortiously interfered with their relationships with their customers “by dictating what services and parts” Progressive was “willing to pay for” when the body shops were “tasked with repairing” a covered vehicle.  They also complained that Progressive improperly “dictate[d] the labor rates” it was willing to pay the body shops “without regard to a particular shop’s rates.”  “[T]hese limitations,” plaintiffs contended, did “not necessarily allow for them to restore an insured’s car to its original, pre-loss condition,” which they alleged violated both Ohio law and Progressive’s own insurance policies. Continue reading “Ohio Appeals Court Dents Plaintiffs’ Class Certification Motion”

As American as Football, Apple Pie and Class Actions

Two cert petitions in a football-related class action are pending before the U.S. Supreme Court: Gilchrist v. National Football League, case no. 16-283 and Armstrong v. National Football League.  Both are scheduled to be considered by the Court at its December 9, 2016 conference.  Continue reading “As American as Football, Apple Pie and Class Actions”

Plus Feature: How Not to Win at the U.S. Supreme Court

Think ATMs; particularly, those not operated by banks.  Several non-bank ATM operators and their customers filed class action complaints against Visa, MasterCard and various affiliated banks in D.C. federal court alleging that defendants violated antitrust laws by requiring the non-bank ATM operators to adhere to certain “Access Fee Rules” that prevented them from offering discounted access fees to their customers, which, in turn, diminished their profitability.  The district court dismissed the complaints for lack of standing and failure to state a claim, but the court of appeals vacated and remanded, holding that the lower court “erred in concluding that the Plaintiffs had failed to plead adequate facts to establish standing or the existence of a horizontal conspiracy to restrain trade.”  Osborn v. Visa Inc., 797 F. 3d 1057 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
Continue reading “Plus Feature: How Not to Win at the U.S. Supreme Court”

Sixth Circuit Sends Flint Water Class Action to State Court Under CAFA’s Local Controversy Exception

On November 16, 2016, the Sixth Circuit held that a state law professional negligence class action against civil engineering companies arising out of the Flint, Michigan water crisis must be litigated in Michigan state court.  Because the plaintiffs’ proposed class contained more than two-thirds Michigan citizens, a local defendant, and injuries limited to those arising from Flint’s water system, the case was “truly local in nature” and thus belonged in state court. Continue reading “Sixth Circuit Sends Flint Water Class Action to State Court Under CAFA’s Local Controversy Exception”

Don’t Wish Too Hard: Ohio Federal Court Tosses Class Claims in Consumer Case for Failure to Allege Actual Damages

Wish.com is a website that sells, you guessed it, goods.  Lots of them.  Clothing, watches, smartphone cases, fishing lures, jewelry, handbags, Pokémon cards, electronics, shoes.  Most are inexpensive and made in China, from where they are shipped directly from merchant to consumer.  Tens of millions of different items from thousands of merchants.  One of its senior executives referred to wish.com as “the leading mobile commerce platform in North America and Europe” whose “mission is to give everyone access to the most affordable, convenient, and effective shopping mall in the world.”  Wish.com take a 15% cut on each sale.  ContextLogic, Inc., a privately-held company in San Francisco, developed wish.com. Continue reading “Don’t Wish Too Hard: Ohio Federal Court Tosses Class Claims in Consumer Case for Failure to Allege Actual Damages”

The Fresh Scent of Clean Laundry

Our planet is plagued by many vexing problems.  For some folks, front-loading washing machines was one of them.  They claimed that certain front-loading washers manufactured by Whirlpool were defective.  They contended those machines suffered from what they called the “Biofilm defect,” which caused mold and mildew to grow inside them.  That, in turn, allegedly caused moldy odor to permeate their homes and clothes.  And that, in turn, spawned eight years of litigation in the Northern District of Ohio. Continue reading “The Fresh Scent of Clean Laundry”