CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAW

Month: August, 2010

Second District Holds That Omission of Source of Base Price From Which Discount Taken Is Harmless

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The Second District Court of Appeal, in an unpublished opinion, affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor a Restoration Hardware, Inc. (RHI) for alleged misrepresentations of the price of RHI’s merchandise at its discount outlet stores.  Heller v. Restoration Hardware, Inc.,  B215218, 2010 WL 3387506 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 30, 2010).   Plaintiff alleged that RHI outlet stores engaged in a practice of misrepresenting the actual discounts given on furniture.  Id. *1.  Plaintiff contended she purchased at an outlet store an advertised “Del Mar” outdoor chair, which had an original retail price of $750 from which a percentage discount was taken, when in fact the price in RHI’s catalog and on the internet at its website was $685.  Id. Plaintiff’s complaint stated five causes of action: violations of the UCL, the FAL, the CLRA, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud and deceit.

The court affirmed, holding: Read the rest of this entry »

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Ninth Circuit Holds Fraud and Consumer Protection Claims Preempted by Medicare Modernization Act

Medicare: Forward NOT Backward
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Uhm v. Humana, Inc., No. 06-35672,  — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 3385546 (9th Cir. Aug. 30, 2010) held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to consider plaintiffs’ breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims because they were not properly exhausted through the administrative remedial scheme established under the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.  The court further held that plaintiff’s fraud and consumer protection act claims were not subject to the Act’s exhaustion provisions, but that they are expressly preempted.

Circuit Judge Betty Fletcher wrote a pointed concurrence chastising plaintiff’s counsel for filing the class action “all for the recovery of two months’ prescriptions” where a “bit of common sense and attention to the available administrative remedies should have been applied”:

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Northern District Finds Certain Terms in Facebook’s Click-Through Contracts Ambiguous for Purposes of 12(b)(6)

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Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California granted in part a defendant’s 12(b)(6)motion to dismiss in In re Facebook Advertising Litigation, 2010 WL 3341062 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 25, 2010).  Plaintiffs RootZoo, Inc. (“RootZoo”), Steven Price (“Price”), and Matthew Smith (“Smith”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a putative class action arising out of individual contracts between Plaintiffs and Facebook (“Defendant”). Id. *1. RootZoo, Price, and Smith individually entered into “click-through” contracts with Defendant for advertising on its website. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Wal-Mart Files Its Cert Petition in Dukes v. Wal-Mart

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Wal-Mart filed its cert petition last week of Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 603 F.3d 571 (9th Cir. Apr. 26, 2010).  Sitting en banc, Ninth Circuit affirmed District Judge Martin J. Jenkins’ order certifying a Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2) class of current employees with respect to their claims for inclutive relief, declaratory relief, and back pay.  The petition presents 2 questions:

I. Whether claims for monetary relief can be certified under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2)—which by its terms is limited to injunctive or corresponding declaratory relief—and, if so, under what circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

Granular Fee Opinion From Southern District, Reducing Hourly Rates from $250-400 to $225-295, and Reducing Fee for Low Success

LET US ALL APPLY FOR OUR SHARE OF THE STIMULUS...
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District Judge Larry Alan Burns, in Gold v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc., No. 09cv1646-LAB (CAB), 2010 WL 3339498 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2010) (slip op.) considered a fee motion after defendant’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 offer of judgment was accepted.  The court, in a quite granular opinion, reduced the requested  hourly rates of $250-400 to $225-295.  The court also reduced time for block billing, intra-office communication, and unnecessary work.  Id. **3-4.  Comparing the fees to the $3,000 judgment achieved for plaintiff, the court reduced the fee award by 1/3 to $6,207.43.  The court reduced the costs from a requested $2,406.51 to $71.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

Southern District Remands California Securities Law Class Action, Declining to Combine 2 Similar Cases for Purposes of CAFA Jurisdiction

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In Royalty Alliance, Inc. v. Tarsadia Hotel, et al., Nos. 09CV2739 DMS (CAB), 10CV1231 DMS (CAB), 2010 WL 3339202 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2010) (slip op.), the court remanded a securities class action to state court and also rejected defendant’s request that the court consider two similar class actions for the purpose of evaluating CAFA jurisdiction. Read the rest of this entry »

California Gift Certificate Law (Civ. Code § 1749.5) Preempted by Federal Airline Deregulation Act

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In Tanen v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. B217818., — Cal. Rptr. 3d —-, 2010 WL 3341969 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 26, 2010), the Second District held that California’s gift certificate law is preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act (“ADA”) as aplied to travel certificates.  Plaintiff and appellant Mitch Tanen (Tanen) bought a $100 travel certificate from defendant and respondent Southwest Airlines Co. (Southwest), but when he attempted to redeem it 14 months later, after its stated expiration date, Southwest refused to honor it.  Id. *1. Read the rest of this entry »

Judge William Alsup Denies “First-to-File” Transfer of P.F. Chang’s Wage & Hour Class Action

Introducing the PF Chang's Doggie Bag!
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In Dubee v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., No. C 10-01937 WHA, 2010 WL 3323808 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 23, 2010), a putative wage-and-hour class action, defendant P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. brought a motion to transfer the action to the Central District of California pursuant to the “first-to-file rule” due to an earlier-filed action pending there, Vasquez v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc., No. CV 09-01408 DSF.  Dubee, supra, *1.  Plaintiff opposed, arguing that the first-to-file rule does not apply since the actions are not sufficiently similar. Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California denied P.F. Chang’s motion. Read the rest of this entry »

Second District Holds That Providing Meal Breaks Means Employers Must Provide Breaks “as a Practical Matter”

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While the California Supreme Court will resolve this issue shortly, in Brookler v. Radioshack Corp., B212893, 2010 WL 3341816 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 26, 2010), an unpublished opinion issued today, the Second District Court of Appeal held that “Unless and until our Supreme Court holds otherwise, we agree with the analysis in Cicairos which held an employer’s obligation under the Labor Code and related wage orders is to do more than simply permit meal breaks in theory; it must also provide them as a practical matter.” Read the rest of this entry »

Term “Address” Under Corporations Code Encompasses Email Addresses

WorldMark - Estes Park
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The Court of Appeal for the Third District issued an important decision on Monday, holding that the term “addresses” in section 8330 of the Corporations Code encompasses email addresses.  Worldmark v. Wyndham Resort Development Corp., No. C061019, — Cal. Rptr. 3d —-, 2010 WL 3312607 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist. Aug. 23, 2010).  The California Corporations Code grants members of a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation the right to inspect and copy, or obtain for a reasonable charge, the record of the names, addresses, and voting rights of the members of the corporation upon 10 business days’ written notice, provided it is for a purpose reasonably related to the person’s interest as a member. Corp. Code § 8330(a)(1)(2).   Read the rest of this entry »