On December 31st, the First Circuit approved a class action settlement in a case involving claims of deceptive advertising. While breaking no new ground, the court’s decision provides useful guidance to parties negotiating a class settlement.
As a speaker at ACI’s Drug and Medical Device Conference in New York last week, I chose the topic of class action settlements. My paper for the topic expands on a blog post last year concerning practical questions every in-house lawyer should ask before agreeing to a class action settlement. The expanded paper includes those questions, but also prefaces them with a more detailed explanation of the steps in the class settlement process and why the process typically takes many months or even longer. Whether you are an in-house lawyer advising your business leaders whether to enter into a class action settlement, or outside defense counsel advising your client, I hope you will find the paper helpful. It is linked here.
Last week I had the privilege of moderating a discussion at the American Bar Association’s 19th Annual National Institute on Class Actions. The topic was the impact of Supreme Court class action decisions in the lower federal courts. We explored the question whether federal appellate and district courts faithfully follow Supreme Court majority decisions in this arena, or whether some majority decisions are so unpopular that the lower courts navigate around them.
On October 7th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released proposals that, if adopted, would limit the use of arbitration provisions in consumer class actions against banks and other companies offering consumer finance products and services. For more information, you can access our client alert here.
Last week, the District of Massachusetts denied class certification in a building products case in which Pierce Atwood represented the seller of a composite decking product. You can find a brief summary of the decision here.
In a decision issued on August 21, 2015, the First Circuit added its voice to the recent chorus of federal appellate courts holding that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer of judgment, served before a motion for class certification and offering the named plaintiff all the relief it could potentially recover on its individual claim, did not render the plaintiff’s claim moot, and therefore did not moot the putative class action.
It has been a busy summer for federal appellate courts deciding class action issues. Amidst all the sound and fury, this summer’s decisions so far highlight two splits among the federal circuits, while also diminishing if not eliminating a third split on an issue that is currently before SCOTUS. Here is a brief summary of the ebbs and flows.
Recently, I had the privilege of moderating a panel in Boston discussing hot topics in class actions. We had a terrific group of panelists, including three (besides myself) who represent defendants in class actions and one who represents plaintiffs. This imbalance was attributable to the nature of the organization sponsoring the program as a business-oriented legal foundation.
OMNICARE: Supreme Court Clarifies Whether Statements of Opinion by Companies and their Executives are Actionable under the Federal Securities Laws
This week the Supreme Court resolved a split among federal appellate courts over whether a statement of opinion in a company’s registration statement can be actionable under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 if the speaker actually holds the stated opinion. The high court ruled that such opinions are not actionable as an “untrue statement of material fact” simply because they turn out to be wrong. But, taking another “midway position” on a divisive issue of securities class action litigation, the court left the door open…