Category Archives: Class Actions

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Genetically Modified – Naturally!

On October 25, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a consumer class action under Massachusetts law, contending that Wesson vegetable oil is falsely labeled “100% natural” because it allegedly is extracted from genetically modified corn, soybean and rapeseed.  Lee v. Conagra Brands., Inc., 1:17-cv-11042 (D. Mass Oct. 25, 2017).  This was … Continue Reading

Three Reasons “Natural” Class Actions Are Here to Stay

In a review of new class action cases filed against in 2017, we counted at least 11 actions in the food industry alone alleging that a product was not “natural” or “all-natural” as claimed in its advertising or labeling. “Natural” is, by a healthy margin, the most contested single word in food and personal care … Continue Reading

Cy Pres Class Action Settlements Just Fine, Ninth Circuit Says

What should a corporation do when a class action lawsuit claims it broke the law, the group of allegedly affected people is massive, but the real-world “harm” is effectively nil? If the lawsuit fails to state a valid claim, obviously you move to dismiss it. But what if your best arguments require expensive discovery, you … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Steps Back from the Brink of a Circuit Split over “Ascertainability”

Yesterday, a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals took another step back from a circuit split over the extent to which aspiring class plaintiffs must show a “reliable and administratively feasible means of determining whether putative class members fall within the class definition,” and one judge called for scrapping that requirement altogether.… Continue Reading

Comparison Pricing Victory for Ross Stores in California

On August 2, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a putative class action lawsuit against Ross Stores that accused the discount retailer of misleading promotional pricing practices. The lawsuit stemmed from February and May 2015 purchases by the two lead plaintiffs of items bearing price tags with a selling … Continue Reading

Missing Ingredient Claims Lead Food Advertising Class Actions So Far in 2017

For the first 28 weeks of 2017, the most frequently alleged claims in new food and beverage false-advertising class actions have related to featured product ingredients that allegedly are absent, or present only in small quantities, in the food at issue. We reviewed news reports and other mentions of newly-filed food advertising class actions for … Continue Reading

Understanding “Ascertainability” in Class Actions Now that the Second Circuit Has Said “No” To It.

On Friday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in In re Petrobras Securities refused to adopt what it called a “’heightened’ two-part ascertainability test in class action cases.  The Second Circuit agreed that class action plaintiffs must show that ‘the class is defined with reference to objective criteria,’ but did not agree that plaintiffs … Continue Reading

“Give the Money to One Percenters, Not to Non-Profits,” 11 State Attorneys General Argue

On July 5, bipartisan Attorneys General from 11 states filed an astonishing brief in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that court to reject the proposed class action settlement in In re Google Inc. Cookie Placement that would give settlement monies to non-profits rather than class members. The plaintiffs in Google Cookie allege that … Continue Reading

California Last State to Join Multistate Settlement of Western Union Fraud Schemes

Last week, California became the 50th state to join the multistate settlement with Western Union over its alleged complicity in fraud-induced wire transfers.  This followed Western Union’s $5 million agreement with 49 state and the District of Columbia for costs and fees in January, not to mention a whopping $586 million in settlement agreements with the … Continue Reading

So What’s In the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017”?

On Feb. 9, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee introduced a bill titled the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017” (FCALA) (H.R. 985).  Although the FCALA has a worthy goal and several provisions that build on existing, successful class action reforms, it may have too many “poison pills” to pass the Senate, … Continue Reading

Ad Law News and Views Newsletter

Did you know Kelley Drye’s Advertising Law practice produces a newsletter, Ad Law News and Views, every two weeks to help you stay current on ad law and privacy matters? Click here to access our Publication Sign Up and select Advertising and Marketing to subscribe. Find contents from the latest issue below: Click here to view with … Continue Reading

Announcing the Advertising and Privacy Law Webinar Series

Please join Kelley Drye in 2017 for the Advertising and Privacy Law Webinar Series. Like our annual in-person event, this series will provide engaging speakers with extensive experience and knowledge in the fields of advertising, privacy, and consumer protection. These webinars will give key updates and provide practical tips to address issues faced by counsel. … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s TCCWNA: New Year, Same Uncertainty

In 2016, many retailers found themselves on the wrong end of class actions brought under New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”). The suits allege that these retailers’ website terms of service either contained provisions that violated some “clearly established” New Jersey or federal law, or else stated that violative terms might not … Continue Reading

The Ninth Circuit’s Briseno Decision Is Not As Bad As It Looks for Consumer Class Action Defendants

The Ninth Circuit’s decision this week in Briseno v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., No. 15-55727, refused to engraft an “administrative feasibility” requirement to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23’s prerequisites for certifying a class action.  What this means, basically, is that in Ninth Circuit courts, a named plaintiff seeking class certification need not “demonstrate an administratively … Continue Reading

Protected: 2016 Advertising and Privacy Law Summit Attendee Follow up

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Clarity Coming Soon About What New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”) Actually Requires

Remember that wave of class actions under New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”), N.J.S.A. § 56:12-14 et seq., that hit New Jersey courts earlier this year, claiming that website terms of use contained unlawful provisions?  The motion to dismiss briefing is well underway, and online merchants should soon have some clarity about … Continue Reading

Who’s Still “Standing” Following Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins?

From the first month of district court decisions issued since the United States Supreme Court decided Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339, 2016 WL 2842447, *3 (U.S. May 16, 2016), it appears the needle on Article III standing has moved slightly, but so far only slightly, in favor of the defense. Spokeo held that (i) in order to … Continue Reading

Spokeo Starting To Impact Class Certification Decisions — Stay Tuned

We are often asked what we see as the most promising avenues for class action defense arising from the Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision.  Our answer is that even if courts, post-Spokeo, give Congress wide latitude to define a compensable “injury,” courts should not certify classes that include people who did not suffer that injury.  As … Continue Reading

8th Circuit Upholds Data Breach Coverage for Bank Loss Following Hacker’s Fraudulent Transfer

Last week, the Eighth Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling in State Bank of Bellingham v. BancInsure Inc., finding that a bank employee’s negligence in securing its computer network did not preclude coverage for a data breach resulting in a fraudulent funds transfer.  The decision affirms the lower court’s ruling granting summary judgment in favor of … Continue Reading

Agree to Disagree? CFPB Rule Would Prohibit Mandatory Arbitration Clauses, Require Submission of Arbitral Records

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposed rule last week that would prohibit providers of consumer financial products and services from using pre-dispute arbitration agreements to prevent consumers from filing a class action.  In its press release announcing the proposed rule, the CFPB used strong language to condemn mandatory arbitration provisions as permitting “companies … Continue Reading

Mobile App Providers Encouraged to Obtain User Consent Before Sharing Video Viewing Information with Any Third Party After Gannett Mega-damages VPPA Claim Moves Forward

If you offer a mobile application that allows consumers to watch videos of any kind, and if you share that video-viewing information with an analytics firm, take careful note:  On April 29, in Yershov v. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc., No 15-1719, a panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals that included retired Justice … Continue Reading

Class Actions Under New Jersey Warranty Law Threaten to Turn Terms-of-Service Boilerplate Into Big Potential Risks

Do your Terms of Service preclude litigants from claiming consequential damages or attorneys’ fees? If new class action lawsuits in New Jersey are right, merely including these terms, and potentially many other disclaimers, violates New Jersey state law, and subjects you to a penalty of $100 per sale. This interpretation of New Jersey’s 36 year-old … Continue Reading

Scalia’s Death Leaves High Court in Limbo on Three Key Consumer Class Actions

While the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia creates an immediate vacancy on the bench, it also likely leaves the high court’s docket in limbo on a number of key consumer class actions awaiting the Court’s decision. Many predict that President Obama will not be able to replace Scalia before the 2016 Presidential … Continue Reading

Kohl’s Kicks Putative Class Action Suit Alleging Deceptive Sale Prices

On February 1, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed  a consumer class action alleging that Kohl’s Department Stores advertises false sale prices. The plaintiff in Mulder v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., 15-cv-11377 (D. Mass.), asserted causes of action for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Massachusetts … Continue Reading
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