Class Actions Blog

Federal pleading standards in employment class actions

Posted on: August 10th, 2010 by Jennifer Wagner

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), the Supreme Court issued a watershed decision on pleading standards under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8, making clear that the familiar notice pleading standard is no longer applicable.  In Iqbal, the Court clarified that its decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007) applied to “all civil actions,” and was not limited to pleading standards in antitrust cases.  Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1953.  Under Iqbal and Twombly, a complaint must now “contain sufficient factual matter” to “‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’”  Id. at 1948 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).  While the new “plausibility” standard is not a “probability” standard, exactly what a plaintiff must allege in any particular context to “nudge[] [his] claims … across the line from the conceivable to the plausible” (Id. at 1951) remains unclear.  Further, it leaves significant room for subjective judicial determinations as to the merit of plaintiff’s allegations. Read more…

iPad Users file class action lawsuit over alleged discontinuance of AT&T’s unlimited data plan

Posted on: August 9th, 2010 by Steve Larson

A class action lawsuit complaint was filed against Apple, Inc., AT&T Inc. and AT&T Mobility, LLC (collectively “Defendants”) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (captioned Adam Weisblatt v. Apple, Inc., AT&T Inc. and AT&T Mobility, LLC, Case No. 5:10-cv-02553-PVT) alleging that Apple and AT&T sold the 3G-enabled iPads with promises that “unlimited data” service plans would always be available at the customers’ option, but that as of June 7, 2010, Apple and AT&T discontinued providing the “unlimited data” plan, according to class action lawsuit news reports. Read more…

Plaintiff’s lawyers in Toyota class action file consolidated complaint

Posted on: August 5th, 2010 by Steve Larson

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases against Toyota consolidated before Judge Selna in the Central District of California have filed a consolidated complaint, joining all the claims for economic injuries into one action.  The consolidated complaint asserts that all class members suffered economic injuries because their vehicles declined in value following recalls tied to sudden acceleration problems.

The complaint asserts that Toyota violated California consumer fraud statutes.  The complaint does not assert that any product liability laws were violated, because courts have rejected those types of claims under product liability laws.   More than 200 lawsuits are pending in the MDL in Santa Ana, California.

$295 million class action antitrust settlement vacated

Posted on: July 30th, 2010 by Steve Larson

The plaintiffs and defendants reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit against De Beers S.A., and several related entities, and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey approved the $295 million settlement.  The complaint alleged that De Beers fixed prices in the market for rough gem-quality diamonds by, among other things, executing output-purchase agreements with competitors, establishing a market-wide cartel to set production limits, and restricting wholesalers from reselling diamonds outside of certain geographic territories.  The first category of plaintiffs, purchasers who brought diamonds directly from De Beers, asserted violations of §§ 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-2.  The second category of plaintiffs, those who did not purchase directly from De Beers, such as consumers and jewelry retailers, asserted claims under state antitrust, consumer protection, and unjust enrichment laws of all fifty states and the District of Columbia.  The second category of plaintiffs could only rely on state law as a route to monetary relief because they lack standing to bring a federal antitrust claim for damages under  the Clayton Act.  Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720, 735-36.  Some states, like Oregon, have passed statutes called Illinois Brick repealers, which allow indirect purchasers to assert antitrust claims under state law. Read more…

Class action filed against American Airlines for losing bags, and refusing to refund baggage fees

Posted on: July 28th, 2010 by Steve Larson

American Airlines has been hit with a $5 million class-action over lost bags and its refusal to reimburse the baggage fees it charged.  The lawsuit against American Airlines is the first since the airline started charging fees for handling and transporting luggage in June 2008, one of the first airlines to impose such fees.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Danielle Covarrubias of Pierce County, Wash., who paid a $25 fee for her single piece of luggage on a flight to Grand Rapids, Mich.  The bag never arrived, and the airline refused her demand for a refund of the baggage fee, the lawsuit says.

The case is interesting because it demonstrates that consumers can use the class action device to encourage large corporations to improve their customer service.

Are there class action abuses?

Posted on: July 26th, 2010 by Steve Larson

Years ago, there were some isolated abuses of class actions that resulted in some negative publicity for class actions.  Because of that negative publicity, Congress passed laws like the Class Action Fairness Act, which have largely eliminated complaints about the conduct of class actions in the past few years.

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This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

About the authors

  • Steve Larson

  • Steve Larson
  • Steve Larson has been representing investors, consumers and employees in class actions in Oregon for over 20 years. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Stoll Berne in Portland, Oregon.
  • jenwagner

  • Steve Larson
  • Jennifer Wagner is a litigation lawyer who practices in the areas of complex business, employment, securities, and class action litigation. She is an associate at the law firm of Stoll Berne in Portland, Oregon.
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