CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAW

Tag: William Alsup

Northern District Holds That Failing to Receive Opt-Out Notice Insufficient to Support Excusable Neglect Finding to Allow Late Class Member Opt-Out

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The Northern District of California denied a motion by a member of a federal securities class action to opt out after the deadline.  In re Charles Schwab Corporation Securities Litigation, No. C 08-01510 WHA, 2010 WL 4509718 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 1, 2010) (slip op.).   The standard for determining whether a class member should be allowed to opt out of a class action after the applicable exclusion deadline has passed is whether the class member’s failure to meet the deadline is the result of “excusable neglect.”  Id. *1 (citing Silber v. Mabon, 18 F.3d 1449, 1455 (9th Cir. 1994)).

The court found that the excuse provided by the class member—not receiving the opt-out notice—was insufficient to support a finding of excusable neglect:

Having considered the factors set forth above, this order finds that the facts and circumstances underlying the request of Gary Benson do not support a finding of excusable neglect under Ninth Circuit law. The only excuse provided by Mr. Benson is that he did not receive the opt-out notice sent to federal securities class members on October 12, 2009. While it may be true that he did not learn of his involvement in the instant case until recently, the class action notice was properly sent via first-class mail to the address associated with his Schwab account(s) and was not returned to the claims administrator as “undeliverable” (see Dkt. No. 751-1, listing all class members for whom notices were returned “undeliverable” and where new addresses could not be found). In other words, the notice provided to Mr. Benson was reasonably calculated to give him actual notice of this class action and was constitutionally sufficient. This weighs against a finding of excusable neglect.

Id.

The court noted that “if such excuses were deemed sufficient to warrant exclusion at this time, defendants would be prejudiced, given their commitment to a settlement amount that was negotiated with a stable class membership in mind.” Id. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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 »

Judge William Alsup of Northern District Rejects Preemption Argument in Federal Flood Insurance for Home-Equity Line Class Action

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In Hofstetter v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, No. C 10-01313 WHA, 2010 WL 3259773 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 16, 2010) (slip. op.), a putative class action involving federal flood insurance requirements for home-equity lines of credit, defendants JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and Chase Home Finance, LLC moved to dismiss all federal and state claims alleged.

Defendants argued that they were required under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (“NFIA”) to purchase $175,000 worth of flood insurance in connection with plaintiff Sheila Hofstetter’s home-equity line of credit, resulting in plaintiff being billed $1,575 in insurance premiums. Read the rest of this entry »