CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAW

Month: September, 2010

Northern District Holds That No Aiding and Abetting Liability Exists Under UCL

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The Northern District of California granted a motion to strike aiding and abetting allegations from a class action complaint.  Toy v. Triwire Engineering Solutions, Inc.,  No. C 10-1929 SI, 2010 WL 3448535 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2010) (slip op.).

Background

Plaintiff Jason Toy filed a putative class action in state court against defendants TriWire Engineering Solutions, Inc., Comcast Corporation, and Comcast Cable Communications Management LLC, alleging that TriWire and Comcast employed Toy as a cable technician to install, disconnect, and upgrade cable television and computer services for consumers throughout California.  Id. *1.  Plaintiff contended he was not exempt from overtime requirements, and was not paid overtime in accordance with the law. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

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Second District Affirms Denial of Certification of Class of Junk Fax Recipients for Lack of Ascertainability

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The Second District affirmed denial of certification of a class of recipients of unsolicited faxes. Law Offices of Hermez Moreno v. Travelcomm Industries, Inc., B214807, 2010 WL 3610131 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 17, 2010).  Plaintiff and appellant Law Offices of Hermez Moreno brought a putative class action under 47 United States Code section 227, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), and Business and Professions Code 17538.43 alleging that defendants and respondents Travelcomm Industries, Inc. and others had sent unsolicited faxes.  Id. *1.  The trial court denied class certification based on findings that plaintiff had failed to present substantial evidence that a community of interest existed such that common questions of law and fact would predominate. As a separate basis, the court found that appellant had failed to present substantial evidence that the class was ascertainable. Id. Plaintiff appealed.  Id. *1. Read the rest of this entry »

Ninth Circuit Holds That “Crux of Complaint” Rule Allows Courts to Decide Arbitrability Even Where Plaintiff Fails to Raise Challenge to Arbitrability as a Distinct Claim in Complaint

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the “crux of the complaint” rule requires the question of arbitrability to be determined by the arbitrator when a plaintiff’s challenge to the arbitration clause does not appear in his complaint.  Bridge Fund Capital Corporation v. Fastbucks Franchise Corporation, No. 08-17071, 2010 WL 3584060 (9th Cir. Sept. 16, 2010).  The court held that “as long as the plaintiff’s challenge to the validity of an arbitration clause is a distinct question from the validity of the contract as a whole, the question of arbitrability is for the court to decide regardless of whether the specific challenge to the arbitration clause is raised as a distinct claim in the complaint.”  Id. *1. Read the rest of this entry »

Ninth Circuit Reverses Certification Decision for Failure to Properly Conduct Predominance Inquiry

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kelley v. Microsoft Corporation, No. 09-35699, 2010 WL 3556196 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2010) (slip op.) reversed in part a class certification decision for failure to properly conduct the predominance inquiry under Rule 23(b)(3).  Id. *1.  The case involves alleged misrepresentations and omissions in Microsoft Corporation’s (“Microsoft”) pre-release marketing of its Windows Vista operating system.  Id. Plaintiffs-Appellants appealed the denial of their motion for narrowed class certification of two classes proposed after the district court decertified their original class.  Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Rejects Defendant’s Motion to Communicate Ex Parte With Class Members

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The Northern District denied a class defendant’s request to communicate ex parte with class members.  Kirola v. City and County of San Francisco, No. C 07-03685 SBA, 2010 WL 3505041 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2010). Defendant City and County of San Francisco (“City”) brought an administrative motion, seeking authorization to communicate with eight specific class members.  Id. The City contended that free communication with these individuals is essential to allow the City to prepare adequately for trial.  Id. The City sought to “present their testimony at trial in order to establish its policies and practices regarding physical access, which is the core issue in this case.” Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Rejects Collateral Estoppel, Finding Sufficient Difference in Allegedly Misleading Statements

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The Northern District denied a motion to strike class allegations from a putative class action complaint, finding sufficient difference between the allegedly deceptive statements in the prior case and the present case to reject defendant’s collateral estoppel contentions.  Murray v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., No. 09-05744 CW, 2010 WL 3490214 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 3, 2010) (slip op.). Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Grants Pre-certification Class Discovery

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The Northern District granted a putative class representative’s motion to compel timecard and payroll records for all employees in Valenzuela v. MC2 Pool & Spa, et al., No. C09-01698 RS (HRL), 2010 WL 3489596 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 3, 2010). Read the rest of this entry »

Central District Remands Class Action for Defendant’s Failure to Prove Amount in Controversy Under CAFA

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The Central District remanded a putative minimum wage and overtime class action suit in Munoz v. Central Parking Sys., Inc., No. CV 10-6172 PA (RCx), 2010 WL 3432239 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 30, 2010) (unpublished).

Plaintiff’s Complaint attempted to avoid removal, stating “[i]t is believed that the total sum owed to the Class alleged herein is less than $5 million, based upon the anticipated size of the Class and the amount in controversy for each member of the Class.”  Id. *1. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Settles Google Buzz Class Action Litigation for $8.5 Million Cy Pres Fund, With No Money to Class Members, But a 25% Attorneys’ Fee Award

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On Friday, plaintiffs submitted their unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement in the In re Google Buzz User Privacy Litigation, Case No. 5:10-CV-00672-JW, Docket No. 41 (N.D. Cal. Motion Date Sept. 3, 2010).  The settlement calls for an $8.5 million cy pres fund, but no award to individual class members, other than $2,500 incentive awards to lead plaintiffs.

Plaintiff alleged the following: Read the rest of this entry »

Eastern District Holds That Plaintiffs May Rely on a “Few Representative Inquiries” and Extrapolate to the Class

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The court in Adoma v. University of Phoenix, Inc., No. CIV. S-10-0059 LKK/GGH, 2010 WL 3431804 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2010 (slip op.) held that even where plaintiff’s proposed method of “reconstructing records of hours worked . . . will be imperfect”, plaintiffs may rely on “a few representative inquiries whose results will be extrapolated to the class.” Read the rest of this entry »