Christina Aryafar

House Bill Seeks to Reform Class Action Litigation

New-Development-IconBy Christina Aryafar

On February 9, 2017, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte introduced the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017” (H.R. 985), which seeks to amend the procedures used in Federal court class actions and multidistrict litigation proceedings.  Representatives Pete Sessions and Glenn Grothman signed on as cosponsors of the bill earlier this week. 

According to Representative Goodlatte, the proposed reforms would “protect innocent individuals and small businesses who have become the targets of frivolous suits by attorneys who have found loopholes in our civil litigation system.”  He asserts that the provisions of the bill would “maximize recoveries by deserving victims, and weed out unmeritorious claims that would otherwise siphon resources away from innocent parties.”  See Press Release from the Office of Bob Goodlatte, Feb. 10, 2017 (available here).

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Samsung Faces First Class Action Lawsuit Over Fire-Prone Note 7

21027306669_9a8485e5a9_oBy Christina Aryafar

On October 11, 2016, Samsung Electronics announced that it is stopping production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after several reports that the phone overheated and caught fire.  Less than one week later, John Waudby of Nevada, Robert Spuntak of Pennsylvania, and Mohamad Ibrahim of California filed a consumer class action lawsuit against Samsung in New Jersey federal court.  Waudby v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., No. 2:16-cv-07334-CCC-JBC (D. N.J.).  While Samsung is facing several other lawsuits in connection with the exploding phones (see, e.g., Taylor v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-50313 (N.D. Ill.), Strobel v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 9:16-cv-81755-KAM (S. D. Fla.), and Covert v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., et al., No. 5:16-cv-06041-HRL (N.D. Cal.)), the Waudby Complaint is the first to assert classwide allegations. 

The Waudby plaintiffs allege that they suffered monetary damages while waiting for a replacement for their Note 7 phones because they “continued to incur monthly device and plan charges from their cellular carriers for phones they could not safely use.”  Compl., ¶ 4.  They assert causes of action for breach of express warranty, common law fraud, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing on behalf of a nationwide class consisting of “[a]ll persons and entities in the United States who purchased or leased a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.”  Compl., ¶ 32.  In the alternative, plaintiffs – perhaps anticipating that the court may reject their multi-state claims – seek to represent three sub-classes of Note 7 customers from Nevada, Pennsylvania, and California. 

Plaintiffs seek monetary and punitive damages, as well as an injunctive relief requiring Samsung to repair, recall, or replace the Note 7s. 

Buyer Beware! Law School Defeats Lawsuit Alleging Misrepresentation of Alumni Employment Data

Laptop_iStock_000004929105MediumBy Christina Avedissian 

In May 2011, Anna Alaburda filed a class action lawsuit against her alma mater, the Thomas Jefferson School of Law (“TJSL”).  Ms. Alaburda alleged that despite graduating in 2008 near the top of her class and passing the bar exam on her first try, she was unable to find full-time employment as an attorney.  She claimed that TJSL misled potential students by inflating the post-graduate employment statistics it reported to U.S. News and World Report, the nation’s leading publication for law school rankings.  In particular, Ms. Alaburda alleged that when deciding to enroll at TJSL, she relied on a representation in the 2003 edition of U.S. News indicating that 80.1% of TJSL students were employed nine months after graduation. 

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