First Circuit Refuses to Enforce Classwide Arbitration Ban.

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Two sets of plaintiffs, cable service subscribers, sued defendant, a cable provider, alleging that prices plaintiffs paid were inflated as a result of anticompetitive practices. The plaintiffs challenged the mandatory arbitration provisions in the subscriber agreements which: (1) limited discovery; (2) shortened the statute of limitations; (3) bar recovery of treble damages; (4) prevent recovery of attorney’s fees; and (5) …

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that SLUSA Preempts State Law Claims for Fraudulently Inducing Plaintiffs to Hold on to Securities.

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Dabit, a former Merrill Lynch broker, filed a class action on behalf of brokers who held on to certain stocks, and encouraged their clients to do so, longer than they should have. Dabit complained, under Oklahoma law, that Merrill Lynch disseminated misleading research thereby manipulating stock prices. In addition to their own losses, the brokers also lost commission fees when …

Divided Sixth Circuit Panel Follows Allison.

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A divided panel of the Sixth Circuit followed the Allison decision, reversing a (b)(2) certification of gender discrimination claims brought by prison guards. It appears from the decision that, in addition to class-wide injunctive relief, the named plaintiffs sought damages for themselves but not on behalf of the class. Rejecting certification, the court suggested that plaintiffs in Title VII cases …

Oregon Supreme Court Applies Inference of “Reliance” or Causation in Punitive Damage Case Against Tobacco Industry.

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In reviewing the propriety of a punitive damage verdict under Campbell and Gore, the Oregon Supreme Court rejected Philip Morris’ argument that there was no evidence that its fraud caused injury to other residents of the State of Oregon. “In essence, Philip Morris is claiming that one cannot reasonably infer that anyone was actually fooled by its 40-year advertising campaign …

First Circuit Holds that the Fraud-on-the-Market Presumption of Reliance in Securities Cases Does Not Depend Upon the Accuracy of Market Price, But Only Informational Efficiency.

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“The fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance does not depend on the accuracy of the market price, and whether it mirrors the best possible estimates, in light of all available information, of the actual economic values of securities in terms of their expected risks and returns. Rather, this presumption depends on whether the market price of the stock reflects all available information, …

In an Unpublished Decision, the California First Appellate District Strikes Arbitration Clause Banning Class Actions as Unconscionable.

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After the issue was remanded by the California Supreme Court [118 P.3d 1017] for further consideration in light of Discover Bank v. Superior Court, the First Appellate District, in an unpublished decision, determined that the mandatory arbitration provision precluding class treatment was procedurally unconscionable as the amendment was provided through a bill insert, and was substantively unconscionable as in furtherance …

Fifth Circuit clarifies meaning of “inconsistent or varying adjudications” and again rejects the use of (c)(4) to certify a “composite” class.

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A class action was brought by landowners in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas against Entergy, alleging that the company engaged in unauthorized transmission of voice, data and video communications across their land. The plaintiffs argued that certification was appropriate under all three subsections of 23(b), or that, in the alternative, a “composite” (or “hybrid”) should be certified under (b)(2) for liability …

State-wide Certification Against Credit Reporting Agency for the Unauthorized Sale of Personal Information Affirmed.

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Plaintiffs brought suit for Louisiana residents whose credit information was sold by TransUnion to third parties in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681, et seq, pursuant to the enforcement provisions of Louisiana Revised Statute 9:3571.1(G)(3). The court of appeal rejected TransUnion’s arguments that the suit was effectively preempted by parallel litigation in the Federal Courts. The …

Ohio appellate court certifies class of policyholders.

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A class action was filed against Security Union Title Insurance Company alleging a systematic and illegal overcharge in premiums for title insurance policies in residential refinancing transactions. The trial court found that common issues did not predominate, as it would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis that plaintiff or his or her agent provided a copy of the …