Previously, we advised of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit’s decision in In re Aqua Dots Products Liability Litigation, 654 F.3d 748 (7th Cir. 2011). (Jim Martin & Colin Wrabley, Reed Smith Class Action Alert 12-017, “Seventh Circuit Holds That Voluntary Product Refund Programs Can Defeat Class Certification on Adequacy Grounds Under Rule 23(a)(4)” (Jan. 23, 2012).) In that case, the 7th Circuit held that the district court properly declined to certify the class because class representatives were not “adequate” where the defendant had implemented a product refund and replacement program providing a comparable remedy to what the putative class might recover in court.
Recently, and echoing some of the 7th Circuit’s reasoning in Aqua Dots, the 10th Circuit dismissed a putative class action against Toyota where Toyota’s recall of certain automobiles, subject to federal oversight, promised the class representative “exactly the relief sought in her complaint”: notice of the defect to all owners and repair of the defect at no cost. Winzler v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc., 681 F.3d 1208 (10th Cir. 2012). The court held that such a “remedial promise,” although it “may not be enough to kill a case constitutionally, …can be enough to bring it to an end all the same” under the little-used doctrine of prudential mootness. Class action litigators should be aware of this decision and its implications for putative class actions across a broad range of cases.
Please see full Alert below for further information.
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