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Class Action Defense Cases–In re Community Bank: Third Circuit Court Again Reverses Approval Of Class Action Settlement Holding Wrong Legal Standard Applied To Determine Adequacy Of Representation

Oct 4, 2011 | By: Michael J. Hassen

District Court Applied Wrong Legal Standard in Finding Named Plaintiffs and Their Counsel to be Adequate Representatives of the Proposed Class under Rule 23(a)(4) and thus Abused its Discretion in Certifying Class and Approving Nationwide Class Action Settlement Third Circuit Holds

Several putative class actions were filed against various defendants, including Community Bank of Northern Virginia (CBNV), Guarantee National Bank of Tallahassee (GNBT) and Residential Funding Corporation (RFC), arising out of “the alleged predatory lending scheme of the Shumway/Bapst Organization (‘Shumway’), a residential mortgage loan business involved in facilitating the making of high-interest, mortgage-backed loans to debt-laden homeowners.” In re Community Bank of N. Va. & Guar. Nat’l Bank of Tallahassee Second Mortgage Loan Litig., 622 F.3d 275 (3d Cir. 2010) [Slip Opn., at 10]. According to the allegations underlying the class action complaints, Shumway entered into relationships with CBNV and GNBT in order to circumvent state-law restrictions on fees that it could charge; the alleged scheme permitted Shumway to make it appear as if the fees were paid to depository institutions (which are not subject to the fee restrictions) when in reality they were being funneled to Shumway. Id. RFC allegedly aided this conspiracy by purchasing CBNV and GNBT loans on the secondary market, even though it allegedly knew that these institutions were acting as mere “straw parties” for Shumway. Id., at 11. The class actions were consolidated, see id., at 11-12, and ultimately a proposed nationwide class action settlement was reached, id., at 13. Certain members of the class objected to the proposed class action settlement, and certain class members sought leave to intervene in the consolidated class action lawsuit; the district court denied the motion to intervene and overruled the objections to the class action settlement. Id., at 9. The Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of intervention, but reversed and remanded the approval of the class action settlement. Id. The district court again approved the class action settlement, and again the objectors appealed: “The Objectors contend that the failure [to make claims against the defendants under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA)] renders the named plaintiffs and class counsel inadequate class representatives.” Id. The Circuit Court again reversed.

We do not discuss in detail the Circuit Court’s 100-page opinion. In sum, the Third Circuit concluded that “by approaching the adequacy-of-representation questions on remand as though it were ruling on a motion to amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15© or a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)6)[,] [the district court] applied the wrong legal standard in ruling on class certification under Rule 23.” In re Community Bank, at 9. Accordingly, the Court “reluctantly” vacated the district court order certifying the class action and approving the class action settlement, and again remanded the matter for further proceedings. Id. The Third Circuit also noted, “we continue to reject (i) the claim that the District Court abused its discretion in denying the Objectors’ renewed motion to intervene, and (ii) their renewed petition for mandamus to recuse the District Judge in this case.” Id.

Certification of Class Actions Class Action Court Decisions Multidistrict Litigation

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re General Mills: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Denies Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation

Jul 16, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Denies Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Agreeing With Objections of Class Action Plaintiffs that Alternatives to Centralization Exist to Avoid Duplicate Discovery Four class actions were filed against General Mills – one each in California, Florida, New Jersey and Ohio – arising out of defendant’s marketing of its Yo-Plus and/or Yo-Plus Light yogurts. In re General Mills, Inc., YoPlus Yogurt Prod.

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HELOC Class Action Defense Cases–In re JP Morgan Chase: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiffs Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Northern District Of Illinois

Jul 9, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Defendants, and Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of Illinois Nine class actions – two each in the Central and Northern Districts of California, and one each in the Eastern and Southern Districts of California, the Northern District of Illinois, the District of Minnesota, and the Northern District of Texas – were filed against various Chase defendants arising out of home equity lines of credit.

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Credit Card Interest Rate Class Action Defense Cases–In re Capital One: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects Northern District Of Georgia As Transferee Court

Jun 25, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Over Objection of Common Class Action Defendants, but Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of Georgia Two class actions – one in the Georgia and one in Virginia – were filed against Capital One Financial and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Capital One Bank (USA) based on the claim that Capital One “unilaterally increased interest rates on customers’ credit card accounts without notice.

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Toyota Acceleration Class Action Defense Cases–In re Toyota: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiff Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Central District Of California

May 14, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants One Plaintiff’s Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407 in Central District of California, Rejecting Competing Request of Plaintiff in Different Class Action to Centralize Lawsuits in Eastern District of Louisiana Eleven class actions – five in California, three in Louisiana, and one each in the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida and in West Virginia – were filed against various Toyota Motor entities arising out of product defect liability claims: “Each of the actions…asserts economic damages on behalf of certain classes and/or individuals stemming from an alleged defect in certain Toyota vehicles that causes sudden, unintended acceleration.

Class Action Court Decisions Multidistrict Litigation Uncategorized

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re Kentucky Grilled Chicken: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Northern District Of Illinois

Feb 12, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Defendant’s Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Over Objection of Plaintiffs in All Four Affected Class Actions, and Transfers Class Actions to Northern District of Illinois for Pretrial Purposes Four class actions –one each in the Northern and Central Districts of California, the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Michigan – were filed against KFC Corp. and Yum!

Class Action Court Decisions Multidistrict Litigation Uncategorized

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re Apple iPhone: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects Eastern District Of Louisiana As Transferee Court

Jan 29, 2010 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 1407 and Selects Movant’s Alternative Transferee Forum Over Competing Request of Other Common Class Action Defendant Twelve (12) class actions – three in Ohio, two in the Central and Northern Districts of California and one in the Southern District of California, and one in Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota and Missouri – were filed against Apple and AT&T “arising from the advertising and marketing of multimedia message service (MMS) functionality of Apple’s iPhone 3G and 3GS supported by AT&T’s 3G network.

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re DirecTV: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiffs’ Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects Central District Of California As Transferee Court

Dec 18, 2009 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiff Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Over Objection of One Group of Class Action Plaintiffs, but Transfers Class Actions to Central District of California Seven class actions were filed in seven different district courts – the Central and Northern Districts of California, the Southern District of Florida, the Northern District of Georgia, the District of New Jersey, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Western District of Washington – against various DirecTV challenging its early cancellation fee policies.

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re Sony: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Defense Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation In Eastern District Of New York

Dec 11, 2009 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Defense Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Unopposed by Class Action Plaintiffs, and Transfers Class Actions to Eastern District of New York Seven class actions – five in the Southern District of New York, and one each in the Eastern District of New York and Eastern District of Texas – were filed against various Sony entities “arising from the performance of the ‘optical block’ of second generation Sony WEGA SXRD rear projection HDTV televisions.

Class Action Court Decisions Multidistrict Litigation Uncategorized

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Class Action Defense Cases–In re Cheerios: Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Grants Plaintiffs’ Motion To Centralize Class Action Litigation But Selects District Of New Jersey As Transferee Court

Dec 4, 2009 | By: Michael J. Hassen

Judicial Panel Grants Plaintiffs’ Request for Pretrial Coordination of Class Action Lawsuits Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. — 1407, Supported by All Responding Parties Despite Disagreement over Appropriate Transferee Court, but Transfers Class Actions to District of New Jersey Five class actions – two in the Central and one in the Eastern Districts of California and one each in the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of New York – were filed against General Mills alleging false advertising claims arising out of its “labeling of its Cheerios cereals, and, specifically, claims that eating Cheerios can lower a person’s cholesterol.

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