Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Class Action
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Two auto body collision repair shops filed a class action against dozens of insurance defendants, alleging claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and state law fraud and unjust enrichment theories. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss each of plaintiffs' claims. The court held that plaintiffs failed to allege at least two predicate acts of racketeering activity, fraud or extortion. The court also held that plaintiffs have not sufficiently pleaded their state law fraud and unjust enrichment claims; the district court did not err by excluding exhibits E1-E7; and the district court did not err by dismissing the complaint with prejudice. View "Crawford's Auto Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit reversed and vacated the district court's order remanding the case to state court after the case was removed to federal district court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Because plaintiff sought equitable relief to reinstate a lapsed or surrendered life insurance policy, the court held that the face value of the policy could be used to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement, and that the aggregate face value of the life insurance policies here was over $75 million. Therefore, the court held that Wilco has met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the $5 million CAFA threshold. View "Anderson v. Wilco Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, alleging that DIRECTV and the company it contracted with to provide telemarketing services, Telecel, failed to maintain the do-not-call list and continued to call individuals who asked not to be contacted. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's certification order, holding that the unnamed members of the putative class who did not ask DIRECTV to stop calling them were not injured by the failure to comply with the regulation. Therefore, their injuries were not fairly traceable to DIRECTV's alleged wrongful conduct, and thus they lacked Article III standing to sue DIRECTV. The court also held that, although the case was justiciable because the named plaintiff had standing, the district court abused its discretion in certifying the class as it is currently defined. In this case, determining whether each class member asked Telecel to stop calling requires an individualized inquiry, and the district court did not consider this problem at all when it determined that issues common to the class predominated over issues individual to each class member. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Cordoba v. DIRECTV, LLC" on Justia Law

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Three healthcare providers filed a class action against Progressive over a claims-handling process that was allegedly illegal under Florida law. The district court certified an injunction class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), but declined to certify a damages class under Rule 23(b)(3). The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred by certifying the injunction class, because the injunctive remedy the class sought -- in this case, damages -- was improper. Therefore, Rule 23(b)(3) is the proper mechanism for certifying a damages class. The court stated that, because plaintiffs' damages claims involved individualized issues that ruled out Rule 23(b)(3) certification, plaintiffs sought to recast their claims as one for injunctive relief under Rule 23(b)(2). View "AA Suncoast Chiropractic Clinic, P.A. v. Progressive American Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
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The parties appealed the district court's award of attorney's fees in a class action settlement brought by banks against Home Depot to recover resulting losses from a data breach. The Eleventh Circuit held that this was a contractual fee-shifting case, and the constructive common-fund doctrine did not apply. The court held that the district court erred by enhancing class counsel's lodestar based on risk; the district court did not abuse its discretion in compensating class counsel for time on the card-brand recovery process and for time spent finding and vetting class representatives; and there was no merit to Home Depot's contention that the district court's order did not allow for meaningful review. The court also held that the district court properly excluded attorney's fees from the class benefit, and the district court did not abuse its discretion by including the $14.5 million premiums in the class benefit. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Northeastern Engineers Federal Credit Union v. Home Depot, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court correctly determined that the availability of class arbitration was a question of arbitrability, presumptively for the court to decide, because it was the kind of gateway question that determined the type of dispute that would be arbitrated. In this case, defendants sought to compel arbitration on a class basis with JPay, a Miami-based company that provides fee-for-service amenities in prisons in more than thirty states. The court held, however, that the language the parties used in their contract expressed their clear intent to overcome the default presumption and to arbitrate gateway questions of arbitrability, including the availability of class arbitration. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to JPay, reversed the denial of defendants' motion to compel arbitration, and remanded for further proceedings. View "JPay, Inc. v. Kobel" on Justia Law

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In Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011), the Supreme Court reversed the certification of a nationwide class of female Wal-Mart employees claiming gender discrimination. The unnamed plaintiffs in Dukes then filed new actions seeking certifications of regional classes. A group of would-be class members of one of these regional class actions, appealed the district court's dismissal of the class claims and the denial of appellants' motion to intervene. The Eleventh Circuit held that the appeal from the order dismissing the class claims was untimely filed, and was therefore jurisdictionally barred, and the appeal from the order denying appellants' motion to intervene was moot. View "Love v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
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Plaintiffs filed a class action in state court claiming that the City of Montgomery's red-light program and fines violated state law. City and Traffic Solutions removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), but the district court remanded to state court. After determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the Eleventh Circuit held that the home state exception to CAFA jurisdiction was applicable in this case where the only primary defendant was a citizen of the state in which the action was originally filed and other requirements under the statute were met. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hunter v. City of Montgomery, Alabama" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that defendants operated a racketeering enterprise through which they performed and billed for unnecessary heart procedures. The district court dismissed the case. At issue on appeal was whether the Class Action Fairness Act's local-controversy provision, (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(4), precluded the district court from exercising federal-question jurisdiction. If not, the court must decide whether plaintiffs alleged that they were injured in their "business or property," under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1964(c). The court affirmed the denial of plaintiffs' motion to remand because CAFA's local-controversy provision does not prohibit district courts from exercising federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1331. However, the court vacated the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss because plaintiffs alleged economic injuries that were recoverable under RICO. View "Blevins v. Seydi V. Aksut, M.D." on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action
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Wright filed suit in federal court against Pilot, alleging that Pilot and certain Pilot employees systematically shortchanged some trucking companies with whom Pilot had discount agreements by failing to give them the agreed-upon benefits. Wright filed claims under both state and federal law. At issue here is whether federal courts that are given original subject-matter jurisdiction over state-law claims by the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), retain that jurisdiction even when the class claims are dismissed before the class is certified. The district court found that CAFA does not vest the federal courts with original jurisdiction over state-law claims after the class claims are dismissed. Pilot argues that CAFA conferred original jurisdiction over all of Wright’s claims at the time Wright filed them, such that the jurisdiction could not have divested when the class claims were later dismissed. Here, Wright first filed directly in federal court under CAFA but now wishes to refile in state court. When the post-filing action that did away with the class claims is not an amendment to the complaint, the court saw no basis for distinguishing cases originally filed in federal court under CAFA from those removed to federal court. Therefore, the court concluded that CAFA continues to confer original federal jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims in this suit. Because CAFA vested the district court with original jurisdiction over the remaining claims, there was no need for it to analyze supplemental jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Wright Transportation, Inc. v. Pilot Corporation" on Justia Law