Industry News

California Supreme Court Sets New Class Ascertainability Standard

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Ascertainability is a well-established prerequisite for class certification under section 382 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Historically, questions of ascertainability are left to trial courts to decide on a case-by-case basis, which has left room for differences among California courts. However, on July 29, 2019, in Noel v Thrifty Payless, Inc, the California Supreme Court clarified what California’s ascertainability requirement for class certification involves. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s opinion concludes, “Plaintiff’s proposed class definition articulates an ascertainable class. It defines…

The 11th Circuit Makes a TCPA Decision

Case background In Gorss Motels, Inc. v. Safemark Systems, L.P. two companies, Gorss and E&G, are franchisees of Wyndham Hotel Group properties. According to the franchise agreement, Wyndham and affiliates agreed to offer franchisee assistance in purchasing items for the hotels. Fax numbers were explicitly included in these agreements as a method of contact. Safemark, a company that provides safes to Wyndham franchisees, sent two faxes to Gorss, E&G, and over 7,000 other recipients. These faxes failed to provide opt-out…

5 Things to Watch as a Class Action Attorney

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Class action litigation continues to evolve as parties navigate new challenges, including larger class sizes, more complex claims, and new rules and guidance from courts around the country.  Here are the top five things for class action attorneys to watch in 2019: 1. Class arbitration must be specifically authorized In its April 2019 decision in Lamps Plus, Inc., et al. v. Frank Varela, a  divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that agreements must explicitly authorize arbitration by a class as a…

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…