Industry News

Supreme Court: Arbitration Must Be Explicit

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In a reversal of a Ninth Circuit ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that class arbitration has to be explicitly authorized in the arbitration agreement in order to move in that direction. Silence and ambiguity are not enough. The 5-4 ruling is a win for Lamps Plus Inc., who sought to stop class arbitration in an employee data breach case.  The case, brought on by Plaintiff Frank Valera, alleges Lamps Plus Inc. did not protect employee’s personal data, and…

How Will the Administration of Your Class Action Settlement be Impacted by the New Northern District Guidelines?

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A question and answer session with industry veterans and Heffler Senior Directors Jim Prutsman and Ed Radetich. As most class action practitioners are aware, the Northern District of California issued new procedural guidance for class action settlements on November 1 of last year. These guidelines, which are the most detailed in any court system in the country, outline expectations for settlement administrators as well as class counsel. The guidelines standardize the settlement and administration reporting process, making it more consistent…

FYI: California Employment Cases Have New Path for Unclaimed Funds

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The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) traditionally managed and distributed unclaimed funds to employees from California employment class action lawsuits. However, the DIR recently announced it will no longer accept checks from settlement administrators, plaintiffs, or defendants arising from private litigation in which the Labor Commissioner was not involved. As a result, any checks the DIR receives dated after Oct. 15, 2018 will be returned. This means that unclaimed funds in California employment settlements with no designated cy pres recipient or reversion to…

5 Supreme Court Class Action Decisions Worth Tracking in 2019

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The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to rule this year on several class action cases that are worthy of class action practitioners’ attention. 1. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Doris Albrecht et al. This case has the potential to impact product liability class action cases in the pharmaceutical industry. The question on the table is whether it’s a judge that can decide that the state law failure-to-warn claims are null if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejects a medical warning…

New Guidelines Move to Make Class Action Settlement Results Transparent

New Guidelines Move to Make Class Action Settlement Results Transparent

The Northern District of California United States District Court recently released updated guidelines for class action settlements. These updates, effective immediately, outline new expectations of settlement administrators and class counsel, define appropriate cy pres awardees, make settlement results public information, and provide guidance to notice language. Failure to follow these guidelines could result in unnecessarily delayed or denied approval.  California’s Northern District is home to many class action suits, and class action procedural guidance commonly begins with guidelines from this Court. The Northern District is the first Court in the country to require this level of transparency.   Post-Distribution…

Senator Sounds an Alarm with FTC on Digital Ad Fraud

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Senator Warner characterized the pervasive problem of digital ad fraud as “a willful blindness,” in a hard-hitting letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after a recent scheme was brought to light that Google estimates cost advertisers close to $10 million. It’s a shot over the bow to major players, who according to Warner, are inattentive to the criminal activity. Class action settlement notice programs are not immune to this problem. This comes on the heels of an investigation by…