Ninth Circuit holds that website intake from potential clients is not subject to disclosure.

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Granting a mandamus in an action where attorneys were compelled to turn over initial responses by clients on the Internet in suit against the makers of Paxil, the court re-affirmed the principle that the attorney-client privilege extends to initial consultations, even where the attorney and client acknowledge that no formal attorney-client relationship has been established. “Potential clients must be able …

Eighth Circuit reverses Silzone Heart Valve certification.

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The Minnesota District Court certified a medical monitoring class under (b)(2) and a national class of consumer claims under the Minnesota Consumer Protection Statutes under (b)(3). The Eighth Circuit found that the medical monitoring claims lacked coherence and could not be certified. With respect to the consumer claims, the Court did not preclude the possibility of certification, but reversed and …

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. Gore 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 in 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 …