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Class Action Defense Counsel adding ‘The Pick Off’ to Their Playbooks

In recent years, we’ve noticed a new maneuver that class-action defense counsel have increasingly added to their playbooks: The Pick Off. This is how the play is run: Offer the named plaintiff(s) full relief through a Rule...more

Faulty Damages Model Leads to Partial Decertification

On November 6, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part defendant Dole’s motion for decertification in Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC. In...more

Finding Insurance Coverage for Consumer Products Class Action Complaints

Consumer class action claims are a familiar tool for addressing dissatisfaction with a defective product. Given that one of the goals of a consumer class action claim is to recover damages for the claimants, triggering...more

Lawful Waffle: California Courts Dismiss “Natural” Food False Ad Claims

Two California courts have recently dismissed false advertising claims concerning the marketing of food products as “natural,” marking a departure from the trend in consumer class actions in that state. In Richards et...more

The Incredible Shrinking Red Bull Refund: How Should Courts Verify Class Membership?

A recent class action settlement has brought fresh attention to two age-old questions. The first: does Red Bull actually give you wings? The second: how carefully should courts screen out bogus claimants from proposed classes...more

Do Not Pass Go: Federal Judge Orders Execs Jailed for Contempt of Recall Order

A recent federal decision has made clear that court-ordered recalls can have real teeth, not just for manufacturers but also their officers—especially when the court has reason to suspect a company’s execs are deliberately...more

Plaintiffs Sent Back to the Drawing Board in Mislabeling Suit Over “All Natural” and “Fat Free” Claims on Frito-Lay Rold Gold...

Judge Samuel Conti of the Northern District of California recently issued another blow to class action plaintiffs—this time at the motion to dismiss stage—in Figy v. Frito-Lay N. Am., Inc., Case No. 13-3988-SC (N.D. Cal. Aug....more

Class Certified in Homeopathic Products Case

The plaintiffs’ theory of harm drove a recent decision from the Central District of California certifying a nationwide class of purchasers of ten homeopathic products. Allen v. Hyland’s Inc., Case No. 12-01150 (C.D. Cal. Aug....more

California Northern District Judges Split on Sufficiency of Damages Evidence at Class Certification – Will Ninth Circuit Weigh In?...

Judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California are split on the sufficiency of damages evidence at the class certification stage. Jones v. ConAgra Foods, Inc, No. C 12-01633 CRB, 2014 WL 2702726...more

CPSC Magnets Trial in December? Zen Magnets Throws Down the Gauntlet; Vows to “Fight Until the End”

Two years ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took the uncommon step of filing administrative complaints against multiple rare-earth magnet companies who refused to voluntarily recall magnetic adult desk...more

Two Consumer Class Actions Settle for (Mostly) Nominal Amounts Per Plaintiff

Two recent false advertising class action settlements illustrate some of the myriad ways to structure settlements, and also reflect the real risks of these lawsuits when early-stage efforts to dismiss them are...more

District Court Rejects Nationwide Class, But Certifies California-Only Consumer Class After Conducting Rigorous Analysis of...

In Werdebaugh v. Blue Diamond Growers, the plaintiff brought suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to certify a nationwide class of consumers who purchased Blue Diamond almond milk...more

Courts Reject Attempts to Pick Off Named Plaintiffs Via Offers Of Judgment

Following the Supreme Court’s 2012 recognition of concurrent federal and state jurisdiction over Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) class actions in Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, federal courts have issued...more

Federal Judge Trims Diet Supplement Maker’s Earnings by $40M and Orders Recall of Banned Labeling

On May 14, a Georgia federal court dished out severe contempt sanctions against Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, its president and two others for violating a 2008 court order relating to the advertising and labeling of Hi-Tech’s...more

The Epic Buckyballs® Saga Settles

May 2014 brought an ordinary end to a series of extraordinary events, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) settling an unprecedented proceeding against Craig Zucker, the former CEO of Buckyballs® manufacturer...more

Looking to Litigate in Secret? Fourth Circuit Creates Hurdles for Product Manufacturers

In April, the Fourth Circuit ruled in Company Doe v. Public Citizen that a manufacturer could not hide behind a veil of secrecy even after successfully enjoining the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from publishing...more

Third Circuit Denies Rehearing Of Class Certification Denial In Class Ascertainability Case

On May 2, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc in Carrera v. Bayer, 727 F.3d 300 (3d Cir. 2013), a closely-watched case on class ascertainability....more

California District Court Finds Plaintiff’s Proposed Damages Models Insufficient Under Comcast; Denies Certification Under Rule...

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California certified a Rule 23(b)(2) class for injunctive and declaratory relief but denied plaintiff’s motion for class certification under Rule 23(b)(3) because plaintiff...more

Receiving the Benefit of the Bargain: Reconciling Judge King’s Class Certification Rulings in Forcellati and Caldera

Within one week’s time, Judge George H. King, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, came down on opposite sides of the class certification coin, granting class certification in...more

Tea Manufacturer Defeats Damages – Seeking Class Action Plaintiff in an Opinion Steeped in Comcast

In Lanovaz v. Twinings North America, Inc., 2014 WL 1652338, Case No. C-12-02646-RMW (N.D. Cal. April 24, 2014), the court granted-in-part and denied-in-part a motion for class certification in a false advertising case about...more

"Company Doe" wins challenge but loses anonymity - ruling makes it tougher for companies to confront erroneous online claims

A new decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal will require the lower court to unseal court documents, revealing the identity of a manufacturer that claims it was falsely implicated in a consumer report....more

J.M. Smucker Company Gets Out of a Jam in Food Labelling Case

On April 15, 2014, in the case Caldera v. The J.M. Smucker Co., CV 12-4936-GHK, J.M. (C.D. Cal.), Smucker Company (“Defendant”) defeated the plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a case challenging the labels on...more

4th Circuit Unmasks Company Doe & Unseals Entire Record in CPSC Database Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rather forcefully reversed one of the key rulings of Maryland District Court Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. in the recent litigation involving the CPSC’s...more

A (POM) Wonderful Result For Consumer Class Action Defendants

On March 25, 2014, the court in In re: POM Wonderful LLC Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, Case No. ML 10-02199 DDP (C.D. Cal.), granted a motion by defendant POM Wonderful LLC (“POM”) to decertify a previously...more

The Class Action Chronicle - Spring 2014

This is the third edition of The Class Action Chronicle, a quarterly publication that provides an analysis of recent class action trends, along with a summary of class certification and Class Action Fairness Act rulings...more

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