Third Circuit draws line on “piggy-backing”.

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The U.S. Third Circuit held that American Pipe would toll the filing of successive class actions if the deficiency in the original class is based on deficiencies in the class representative, as opposed to a finding that the claims were not suitable for class treatment. Yang v. Odom, 392 F.3d 97 (3d Cir. 2004), cert. denied, 125 S.Ct. 2294 (2005).

Second Circuit rejects (b)(1) certification under “limited punishment” theory absent a fund with a “definitely ascertained limit” as required under Ortiz.

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Judge Weinstein previously certified a mandatory no-opt-out class under Rule 23(b)(1) for all smokers with respect to claims for punitive damages. The certification was based on a “limited punishment” theory, under which “the limited fund involved would be the constitutional cap on punitive damages, set forth in BMW v. GoreĀ and related cases.” While the Second Circuit acknowledged the possibility of …

JAMS clarifies its policy when companies seek to preclude class actions through arbitration.

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Last fall, JAMS declared that it was inappropriate for a corporation to bar its customers or employees from being part of a class action in an arbitration clause. JAMS later withdrew that policy, (after being pressured by angry corporations). Now JAMS has clarified its current policy: “Until either the United States Supreme Court decides the issues or lawmakers create a …

Eleventh Circuit largely rejects Castano in affirming nationwide RICO class against major HMOs by physicians.

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In affirming certification of RICO claims of all medical doctors providing services to any person insured by one of the major HMOs from 1990 thru the date of certification, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Fifth Circuit’s statement inĀ Castano that “a fraud class action cannot be certified when individual reliance will be an issue”; rather, due to …

Fifth Circuit reverses denial of certification in burial life insurance cases.

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A district court judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana denied certification in a case brought by African American policyholders who received less benefits than whites with comparable policies. The plaintiffs sought certification of a (b)(2) class for injunctive and associated relief, yet affording notice and opt-out rights to members of the putative class. Adopting the practical approach taken in …

Fourth Circuit approves of certifying “issues” under Rule 23(c)(4).

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Purchasers and beneficiaries of a multi-employer health care plan brought claims growing out of the plan’s collapse. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the defendants’ argument that the necessity for individualized damage determinations should defeat certification. Of particular interest, however, is the Court’s discussion of Rule 23(c)(4). The Fifth Circuit, in cases such as Castano and Allison, had …