Justia U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Pazol v. Tough Mudder Inc.
Defendants were business entities that organize physically challenging obstacle course events in locations throughout the United States. The four named Plaintiffs registered to participate in one of those events. Plaintiffs filed suit in Massachusetts superior court alleging that they were unable to participate in the event because of a second change of location and that Defendants refused to refund Plaintiffs’ registration fees. Plaintiffs sought relief on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly situated persons. Defendants removed the case to federal court, asserting that removal was permitted under the Class Action Fairness Act because the matter in controversy exceeded $5 million. Plaintiffs moved to remand the case to state court arguing that Defendant failed to show that over $5 million was in controversy. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case to state court. The district court then dismissed the case and compelled mediation and arbitration of the dispute. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the district court erred in concluding that Defendants met their burden of showing that over $5 million was in controversy in this matter. Remanded with instructions to remand the case to state court for lack of jurisdiction. View "Pazol v. Tough Mudder Inc." on Justia Law
In re Loestrin 24 FE Antitrust Litig.
Warner Chilcott, a brand-name drug manufacturer that owns the patent covering Loestrin 24 Fe, and Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which sought to introduce a generic version of Loestrin 24, entered into a settlement agreement wherein Watson agreed to delay entry of its generic version of Loestrin 24 in exchange for favorable side deals. Thereafter, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that it would introduce a generic version of Loestrin 24. Warner and Lupin settled on terms similar to those between Warner and Watson. Two putative classes of plaintiffs brought antitrust claims that the settlement agreements were violations of the Sherman Act and constituted illegal restrains on trade under FTC v. Actavis. At issue in this case was whether such settlement agreements are subject to federal antitrust scrutiny where they do not involve reverse payments in pure cash form. The district court dismissed, concluding that Actavis applies only to monetary reverse payments and that Plaintiffs had alleged the existence of non-cash reverse payments only. The First Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that the district court erred in determining that non-monetary reverse payments do not fall under the scope of Actavis. Remanded. View "In re Loestrin 24 FE Antitrust Litig." on Justia Law
Bezdek v. Vibram USA, Inc.
Three putative class action complaints alleged that Defendants engaged in deceptive marketing and advertising about the health benefits of certain “barefoot” running shoes. The district court preliminary approved a settlement and certified a class for settlement purposes only. Notice was subsequently distributed to the class, and some 154,927 timely claims were filed. Objections were filed by three individuals, none of whom complied with the requirement in the proposed settlement agreement that proof of purchase must be submitted with an objection to establish class membership. The district court rejected the objectors’ claims, approved the proposed settlement, and awarded attorneys’ fees and expenses to class counsel. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) there was no misrepresentation in the notices sent to class members; (2) the settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate; (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that injunctive relief was a valuable contribution to the settlement agreement; and (4) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court’s award of attorneys’ fees. View "Bezdek v. Vibram USA, Inc." on Justia Law
In re JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
In the underlying putative class action, counsel for the named plaintiffs obtained a collection of records owned by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase). Plaintiffs sought to rely on the documents to pursue claims sounding in fraud, deceit, and conversion against Chase. A dispute arose as to whether portions of the Chase records were shielded from discovery and litigation under a provision of Bank Secrecy Act and related regulations. A magistrate judge reviewed all of the disputed documents in camera and concluded that the majority of the documents were not shielded by statute or regulation. Chase then initiated this mandamus proceeding, asking the First Circuit to intervene by declaring that the Act and related regulations shielded an additional fifty-five pages of Chase records from production or use in the putative class action. The First Circuit denied the petition for writ of mandamus, holding that, even assuming that the Act and regulations apply, the documents at dispute would not be shielded from discovery or use in litigation. View "In re JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc.
Plaintiff filed claims individually and on behalf of three putative classes against Defendant seeking damages and injunctive relief under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Prior to the parties’ agreed-upon deadline for the class certification motion that Plaintiff announced it would pursue, Defendant tendered to Plaintiff an offer for judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 68. Four days after receiving the offer, Plaintiff moved for class certification. The unaccepted offer was subsequently withdrawn due to Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the offer. Thereafter, Defendant moved to dismiss for lack of matter jurisdiction, arguing that its unaccepted and withdrawn Rule 68 offer resolved any case or controversy between the parties, thereby mooting Plaintiff’s claims. The district court denied the motion to dismiss. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that a rejected and withdrawn offer of settlement of the named plaintiff’s individual claims in a putative class action made before the named plaintiff moves to certify a class does not moot the named plaintiff’s claims and divest the court of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc." on Justia Law
Hill v. State Street Bank Corp.
This appeal arose out of the settlement of a securities class action brought on behalf of the purchasers of certain common stock of a corporation. Those who objected to the settlement and appealed the rejection of their objection argued that they were given too little time to register objections with the district court and that the district court should not have approved the amount of attorneys’ fees awarded to class counsel. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s rejection of the objections at issue, as the objectors had notice in fact and a sufficient opportunity to have any of their objections heard by the court before it approved the settlement; and (2) dismissed the objectors’ appeal from the court orders approving the settlement and award of counsel fees, as the objectors had no standing to complain about the fee award. View "Hill v. State Street Bank Corp." on Justia Law
Marcus v. Forest Pharms., Inc.
In this putative class action against the manufacturer of Lexapro, Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Plaintiffs claimed that Lexapro’s FDA-approved drug label misleads California consumers by omitting material efficacy information in violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law. As relief, Plaintiffs requested that the court permanently enjoin Forest from continuing to sell or market Lexapro with its current drug label and to direct Forest to seek FDA approval of a new drug label. The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that claims were barred by California’s safe harbor doctrine. The First Circuit affirmed the judgment dismissing the complaint but on other grounds, holding that federal law impliedly preempts Plaintiffs’ claims because the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits Forest from independently changing its FDA-approved label to read as Plaintiffs say it should have read in order to comply with California Law. View "Marcus v. Forest Pharms., Inc." on Justia Law
Sarnacki v. Golden
This shareholder derivative suit was one of several suits alleging that Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, a major gun manufacturer incorporated in Nevada, made misleading public statements in 2007 about demand for its products. In reaction to these cases, Smith & Wesson formed a Special Litigation Committee (SLC) to investigate and evaluate the viability of any of these claims and to make a recommendation to Smith & Wesson’s Board whether to pursue any of these claims. The SLC issued a final report recommending against filing any claims. In 2010, Plaintiff asserted Nevada state law claims against Smith & Wesson’s officers and directors, including breach of fiduciary duty and waste of corporate assets. On the basis of the SLC’s conclusions, Defendants, former and current officers and directors of Smith & Wesson, moved for summary dismissal under Delaware law, as adopted by Nevada. The district court granted the motion. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in finding as a matter of law that the SLC was independent and that the SLC’s investigation was reasonable and conducted in good faith. View "Sarnacki v. Golden" on Justia Law
In re Nexium Antitrust Litig.
This case involved the dispute over settlement agreements between AstraZeneca, which sells a heartburn drug called Nexium, and three generic drug companies that sought to market generic forms of Nexium. The named plaintiffs sued AstraZeneca and the three drug companies, alleging that the settlement agreements constituted unlawful agreements not to compete. Plaintiffs sought class certification for a class of third-party payors and individual consumers. The district court certified a class. Defendants appealed. After briefing, oral argument, and submission of this case, however, Defendants filed a voluntary motion to dismiss the interlocutory appeal. The First Circuit denied the motion to dismiss, holding (1) although some of the underlying issues in this case had been settled and a jury had reached a verdict on some others, the case was not moot; (2) a final draft of the Court’s opinion had already been prepared; and (3) Defendants may have been acting strategically by seeking to dismiss the interlocutory appeal. View "In re Nexium Antitrust Litig." on Justia Law
In re Nexium Antitrust Litig.
AstraZeneca, which sells a heartburn drug called Nexium, and three generic drug companies (“generic defendants”) that sought to market generic forms of Nexium, entered into settlement agreements in which the generic defendants agreed not to challenge the validity of the Nexium patents and to delay the launch of their generic products. Certain union health and welfare funds that reimburse plan members for prescription drugs (the named plaintiffs) alleged that the settlement agreements constituted unlawful agreements between Nexium and the generic defendants not to compete. Plaintiffs sought class certification for a class of third-party payors, such as the named plaintiffs, and individual consumers. The district court certified a class. Relevant to this appeal, the class included individual consumers who would have continued to purchase branded Nexium for the same price after generic entry. The First Circuit affirmed the class certification, holding (1) class certification is permissible even if the class includes a de minimis number of uninjured parties; (2) the number of uninjured class members in this case was not significant enough to justify denial of certification; and (3) only injured class members will recover. View "In re Nexium Antitrust Litig." on Justia Law