Robinson Bradshaw

Jurisdiction: Fourth Circuit

When a Rule 23(f) Appeal Becomes Something More: Fourth Circuit Exercises Pendent Appellate Jurisdiction Over Ruling on the Merits

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) gives the court of appeals discretion to review a narrow class of interlocutory orders: those granting or denying class certification. But it is sometimes possible for other orders to come along for the ride, as demonstrated by the Fourth Circuit’s recent decision in Elegant Massage LLC v. State Farm […]

Standing vs. Typicality in Class Actions: Blurry Lines and a Split of Authority

In general, a litigant cannot sue for another person’s injury. In that circumstance, the litigant has no “standing” to pursue those claims. But Rule 23 — at least in a broad sense — allows a class representative to assert claims for her own injuries and for the injuries experienced by others, at least if the […]

Fourth Circuit Grapples with Effect of “Class-Action Waiver”

On Aug. 18, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in the long-running Marriott Data Breach MDL Litigation. The Fourth Circuit reversed a district court’s class certification decision, holding that the district court erred in certifying damages classes against the Marriott defendants without first addressing, as a threshold issue, […]

A Roadmap for Addressing Objections to Class Settlement

Earlier this year, the Fourth Circuit published an updated roadmap for addressing objections to class settlement. The decision, 1988 Trust for Allen Children Dated 8/8/88 v. Banner Life Insurance Co., 28 F.4th 513 (4th Cir. 2022), will be an important resource for parties hoping to bypass objections en route to settlement. It will also be […]

In ERISA Class Actions, Defendants Should Take a Close Look At Whether Article III Standing Issues Could Lead to Early Adjudication

As class action litigation under ERISA continues its upward trend across the country, could Article III standing serve as a means through which a Court can fairly assess claims before costly discovery is imposed on defendants and judicial resources are expended? Several recent federal court decisions suggest as much. ERISA, which provides protection to employees […]

What should be required to show that a party waived its right to arbitrate?

This post concerns a recurring topic in class-action practice: how a party—through its own litigation conduct—can waive its right to arbitrate. The topic warrants attention, or at least came to our attention, because of a recent decision from a federal appellate court. The case, called Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., is a putative nationwide collective action […]

Defendant Class Actions: A Unicorn Survival Guide

The Fourth Circuit’s opinion in Bell v. Brockett, No. 18-1149 (4th Cir. Apr. 25, 2019), posits that “[d]efendant class actions are so rare they have been compared to unicorns.” But what may be even rarer is an opinion, like Bell, in which a court opines on the fundamental and concerning nature of the district court’s […]

Collective Action and Class Action Settlements Require Careful Consideration

We often report in our monthly digests on cases asserting claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state wage and hour laws. These cases generally involve claims that a company, often a restaurant or delivery service company, failed to pay overtime, used an improper “tip pool,” or treated workers as independent contractors, […]

Fourth Circuit Provides Guidance Concerning Proof of the Amount in Controversy under CAFA

We don’t often get appellate guidance after a federal trial judge remands a case to state court following removal because 28 U.S.C. Sect. 1447(d) generally makes such a ruling unreviewable. But the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. Sect. 1332(d), permits a court of appeals to accept an appeal of a remand from a class […]

Fourth Circuit Uses Spokeo to Spike $11.7 Million Class Action Judgment

Standing to sue, a venerable piece of American jurisprudence for sure, continues to draw attention in recent class action cases, including in the Fourth Circuit. In its second decision this year evaluating last term’s Supreme Court decision, Spokeo v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), a unanimous panel of the Fourth Circuit found insufficient “an […]