Category Archives: Class Action

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Springtime for Food Marketers? Two Big Wins in California in Recent Days

The coming of spring has been accompanied by good news for two food marketers—ConAgra and Bumble Bee Foods—in their respective court fights in California. In the Northern District of California, a federal judge dismissed a putative class action against ConAgra alleging that the marketer’s Crunch N’ Munch product violated California’s unfair competition law since it … Continue Reading

‘Til Contract Termination Do We Part: Circuit Courts Reach Differing Conclusions on Whether TCPA Consent Survives the Termination or Expiration of a Contract

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), businesses generally may not place an autodialed telemarketing call or a telemarketing call that delivers a pre-recorded message unless the recipient has provided his or her prior express consent to receive such a call. Recently, the Sixth and Ninth Circuits ruled on whether a business may place a … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decides Not To Stay Natural Case, But Read the Fine Print

When courts decide to stay actions to await FDA guidance in an area, it’s only natural that our ears perk up. Which has been going on a lot, with cases such as Kane v. Chobani and Swearingen v. Santa Cruz Natural, Inc. Last week, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had previously opted … Continue Reading

Why the Caribbean Cruise Line Record-Breaking TCPA Settlement Could Contribute to “The End of the [TCPA] World As We Know It” (and We Feel Fine)

Caribbean Cruise Line Settlement (Revised 10/13) A Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) class action litigation, Birchmeier, et al. v. Caribbean Cruise Line Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-04069 (N.D. Ill.), has been winding its way through the court system for four years and finally settled this month. Caribbean Cruise Line and its co-defendants, who were sued … Continue Reading

$500 is the Max – The TCPA is Not a Fee Shifting Statute

Recently, there have been numerous cases dismissed because plaintiffs have treated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) like a business opportunity rather than as a consumer protection statute. Courts also have had to step in over the past several months to reign in plaintiffs’ counsel when it comes to their attorneys’ fees. Such is the … Continue Reading

Class Action Labeling Claims Partially Evaporated, But What’s Left May Signal a Revival of “Evaporated Cane Juice” Claims

Earlier this year, we discussed the Ninth Circuit’s decision staying a consumer class action against Chobani challenging its listing of “evaporated cane juice” as an ingredient on its yogurt labels. According to the plaintiffs in that case, “evaporated cane juice” was simply code for sugar, and Chobani therefore allegedly misled them about the healthiness of … Continue Reading

No Concrete Injury or Tendering Payment = Moot?

TCPA Dismissal Raises More Questions Than It Answers The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently dismissed a putative class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) on grounds that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). Yet, the one-page dismissal order leaves more … Continue Reading

The CFPB’s Proposed Rule Will End Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Any company that is regulated and examined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) knows how expansive the Bureau’s reach is. Despite challenges in the Congress and the courts, the CFPB is not slowing down. On May 5, 2016, the CFPB released a notice of proposed rulemaking that would ban consumer financial companies from using … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Stays Class Action Food Labeling Lawsuit Until the FDA Completes Review

The pitter patter of class action footsteps that food companies hear may have gotten a bit quieter, at least for now, based upon a Ninth Circuit decision in Kane v. Chobani this week.  The lawsuit centers on Chobani’s use of the terms “evaporated cane juice” and “only natural ingredients” on its yogurt labels.  According to … Continue Reading

Court Rules Settlement Offers Can’t Kill Class Actions

In a hotly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court yesterday refrained from permitting defendants to end class action cases by offering to make named plaintiffs whole by paying their damages before plaintiffs move for class certification. In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. ___ (2016), Jose Gomez alleged that Campbell-Ewald violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act … Continue Reading

Postscript to Luna v. Shac LLC: Human Intervention Still Precludes Finding That Strip Club’s Dialing Platform Constitutes an Autodialer Under the TCPA

Last month, we blogged about the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California’s recent decision entered in Luna v. Shac, LLC, — F. Supp. 3d –, No. 14-cv-00607 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2015), which awarded summary judgment to the defendant-gentleman’s club in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) class action.  You can read that post … Continue Reading

“There’s a Storm Coming, Mr. Wayne” – FCC Decides to Release Robocall and Telemarketing Consumer Complaints

In the most recent installment of the Batman movie franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway’s character, Selina Kyle, whispers ominously into Bruce Wayne’s ear, “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne.  You and your friends better batten down the hatches . . .”  Hathaway was forecasting the onslaught of villains who, shortly thereafter, stormed Gotham … Continue Reading

Yahoo! Says Yahoo! In Defeating Class Certification in TCPA Texting Case

In a big win for Yahoo!, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California denied certification of a putative class in a suit alleging that Yahoo! violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  The litigation arose out of claims that Yahoo! spam-texted consumers by allowing its users to send text messages from a … Continue Reading

Court Grants Class Cert. in Deceptive Pricing Action Against Clothing Retailer

We all love a good bargain, but sometimes a good deal seems too good to be true.  In 2011, Cynthia Spann went bargain-hunting at a California J.C. Penney, and walked out convinced that she had saved over 30%.  However, she later discovered the products she bought at a “bargain” price had never really been sold … Continue Reading

“Judicially Found to Help Prevent False Advertising Litigation”: Fourth Circuit Clarifies Requirements for Pleading a Dietary Supplement False Advertising Claim

On June 19, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its decision in In re GNC Corporation; Triflex Products Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation (No. II), — F.3d –, No. 14-1724, 2015 WL 3798174 (4th Cir. June 19, 2015), handing a significant victory not just to the defendants in that multidistrict … Continue Reading

Security Equipment Manufacturer Secure in Its TCPA Defense: Court Finds Company Not Vicariously Liable for Authorized Dealer’s Alleged TCPA Violations

While plaintiffs’ attorneys seek to streamline the filing of class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), a recent court decision serves as a reminder that there are clear limits to a plaintiffs’ ability to recover statutory damages under a theory of vicarious liability. On May 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the … Continue Reading

TCPA “Pick Off” Play – Supreme Court to Consider whether a Settlement Offer to Named Plaintiff Moots Class Action

The Supreme Court will decide whether a defendant can “pick off” the named plaintiff in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action – and moot the putative class claims – by making a Rule 68 offer of judgment before the putative class representative files a motion for class certification.  Thus, the Supreme Court could … Continue Reading

Is Organic the New Natural?: The Impact of a Court Holding that an “Organic” Claim Is Not Preempted By Federal Law

By now, class action suits over foods using the term “natural” are old news following the age old American story:  class action plaintiff meets product, product assures plaintiff it is all-natural, plaintiff finds something in product that it doesn’t think is natural, lawsuit ensues.   Over the course of the last few years, cases challenging “natural” … Continue Reading

Supreme Court to Decide whether the TCPA’s, FCRA’s and FDCPA’s Statutory Damages Provisions Are Damaged under an Article III Standing Analysis

Statutes such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), and Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) long have been favorites for class-action lawyers.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys leverage significant statutory damages to generate large judgments or settlements for persons who often experience nothing more than the inconvenience of receiving an unwanted call … Continue Reading

Miller/Coors Sings the Blues over Craft Beer Lawsuit

There has been a trend of late toward “hand-crafted” goods.  Advertisers, as they always do, have responded to this trend through creative marketing and, as they always do, class action lawyers have not been far behind.  The alcohol industry has been a prime target; for example, Tito’s Handmade Vodka was sued recently by a plaintiff … Continue Reading

Arbitrate-Shun: Congress’s Proposed Attack on Arbitration Clauses

Last week, Senators Al Franken (D-Minn) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga) revived the Arbitration Fairness Act (“Act”), which would ban arbitration provisions in consumer contracts, as well as employment, antitrust, and civil rights cases, and only allow the parties to agree to arbitration after the dispute arises.  The newfound interest in the Act demonstrates renewed opposition … Continue Reading
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