Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Zadrozny, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon, et al.
Plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of their first amended complaint and the district court's denial of leave to further amend their complaint. Plaintiffs claimed that defendants improperly initiated non-judicial foreclosure proceedings after plaintiffs failed to comply with the mortgage obligations financing their residence. Because the provisions of the deed of trust foreclosed the pleading of a plausible "show me the note" claim by plaintiffs, the district court appropriately dismissed this claim; the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claims premised on the unauthorized appointment of a successor trustee and/or the lack of proof of ownership of the note where these claims lacked legal and factual plausibility; because Arizona law countenances the trustee sale as conducted, plaintiffs failed to allege any plausible claims premised on the PEB Report or the UCC; plaintiffs' constitutional challenges of A.R.S. 33-811(b) were rejected by the court; plaintiffs' fraud and misrepresentation claims were barred by A.R.S. 12-543(3); and denial of leave to amend was within the district court's discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Zadrozny, et al. v. Bank of New York Mellon, et al." on Justia Law
Hinojos v. Kohl’s Corp., et al.
Plaintiff sued Kohl's Department Store claiming that he bought merchandise from Kohl's that he would not have purchased had he not been misled by advertisements stating that the merchandise was marked down from a fictitious "original" or "regular" price. At issue on appeal was whether plaintiff alleged that he "lost money or property" and, therefore, had statutory standing under California law to sue Kohl's to enforce California's prohibition on this deceptive marketing practice. In Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court held that all a consumer needed to allege to establish standing to bring an Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, et seq., or Fair Advertising Law (FAL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17500, et seq., claim was that (1) the defendant made a false representation about a product, (2) the consumer purchased the product in reliance on the misrepresentation, and (3) he would not have purchased the product otherwise. The court rejected defendant's argument that Kwikset was distinguishable because it involved a different type of unlawful misrepresentation than the one at issue here. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's UCL and FAL claims. For nearly identical reasons, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Cal. Civ. Code 1750, et seq., claims. The court also denied defendant's motion to certify both on the merits and because of the circumstances attendant to its filing. View "Hinojos v. Kohl's Corp., et al." on Justia Law
In re: HP Inkjet Printer Litigation
Objectors appealed the district court's orders granting final approval to a class action settlement between HP and a nationwide class of consumers who purchased certain HP inkjet printers between certain dates. Under section 1712 of the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1712(a)-(c), a district court could not award attorneys' fees to class counsel that were "attributable to" an award of coupons without first considering the redemption value of the coupons. A district court could, however, award lodestar fees to compensate class counsel for any non-coupon relief they obtained, such as injunctive relief. Because the attorneys' fees award in this case violated section 1712, the court reversed and remanded to the district court for further proceedings. View "In re: HP Inkjet Printer Litigation" on Justia Law
Radcliffe v. Experian Info. Solutions
This case stemmed from plaintiffs' allegations that defendants issued consumer credit reports with negative entries for debts already discharged in bankruptcy. On appeal, plaintiffs and objectors challenged the district court's approval of a class-action settlement that granted incentive awards to the class representatives for their services to the class. The settlement agreement conditioned payment of incentive awards on the class representatives' support for the settlement. These conditional incentive awards caused the interests of the class representatives to diverge from the interests of the class because the settlement agreement told class representatives that they would not receive incentive awards unless they supported the settlement. Moreover, the conditional incentive awards significantly exceeded in amount what absent class members could expect to get upon settlement approval. Because these circumstances created a patent divergence of interests between the named representatives and the class, the court concluded that the class representatives and class counsel did not adequately represent the absent class members. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's approval of the settlement. View "Radcliffe v. Experian Info. Solutions" on Justia Law
Makaeff, et al v. Trump University
Plaintiff sued Trump University for, among other things, deceptive business practices. Trump University counterclaimed against plaintiff for defamation based on the statements in letters and Internet postings plaintiff had made. Plaintiff then moved under California's "anti-SLAPP" (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) law, California Code of Civil Procedure 425.16, to strike the defamation claim. At issue on appeal was whether Trump University, a private, for-profit entity purporting to teach Trump's "insider success secrets," was itself a public or limited public figure so as to implicate the First Amendment. The court concluded that Trump University was a limited public figure for the limited purpose of the public controversy over the quality of the education it purported to provide, and to prevail here, must demonstrate that plaintiff acted with actual malice. Because the district court erred by failing to recognize Trump University's status as a limited public figure, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Makaeff, et al v. Trump University" on Justia Law
Kramer, et al v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al
Plaintiffs, Prius owners, brought a putative class action suit against Toyota, alleging that they experienced defects in their anti-lock brake systems (ABS), resulting in increased stopping distances. On appeal, Toyota sought review of the district court's denial of their motion to compel arbitration. The court concluded that Toyota could not compel plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims. The district court had the authority to decide whether Toyota, a nonsignatory to the Purchase Agreement, could compel arbitration. The court discerned no reason that plaintiffs should be equitably estopped from avoiding arbitration in this case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Kramer, et al v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al" on Justia Law
Gutierrez, et al v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Plaintiffs sued Wells Fargo under California state law for engaging in unfair business practices by imposing overdraft fees based on a high-to-low posting order and for engaging in fraudulent practices by misleading clients as to the actual posting order used by the bank. The district court entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs and Wells Fargo subsequently appealed, raising issues of federal preemption. The court concluded that federal law preempted state regulation of the posting order as well as any obligation to make specific, affirmative, disclosures to bank customers. The court held, however, that Federal law did not preempt California consumer law with respect to fraudulent or misleading representations concerning posting. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Gutierrez, et al v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Chesbro v. Best Buy Co., Inc.
Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated plaintiffs, argued that a series of automated telephone calls placed to his home by Best Buy violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, and the Washington Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device Act (WADAD), Wash. Rev. Code 80.36.400. The court concluded that these calls were aimed at encouraging listeners to engage in future commercial transactions with Best Buy to purchase its goods. They constituted unsolicited advertisements, telephone solicitations, and telemarketing, and were prohibited by the TCPA, the WADAD, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act, Wash. Rev. Code 80.36.400(3). View "Chesbro v. Best Buy Co., Inc." on Justia Law
Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assoc., et al
PRA appealed the district court's order granting plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and provisional class certification. Plaintiff's complaint alleged that PRA's debt collection efforts violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227. The court held that the district court had jurisdiction to issue the order; the district court did not abuse its discretion in certifying a provisional class for purposes of the preliminary injunction; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assoc., et al" on Justia Law
Lane, et al v. Facebook, Inc., et al
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Facebook and others complaining that Facebook's program, Beacon, was causing publication of otherwise private information about their outside web activities to their personal profiles without their knowledge or approval. Beacon operated by updating a member's personal profile to reflect certain actions the member had taken on websites belonging to companies that had contracted with Facebook to participate in the Beacon program. At issue on appeal was whether the district court abused its discretion in approving the parties' $9.5 million settlement agreement as "fair, reasonable, and adequate," either because a Facebook employee sat on the board of the organization distributing cy pres funds (DTF) or because the settlement amount was too low. The court concluded that objectors' contention that the settling parties were prohibited from creating DTF to disburse cy pres funds was without merit, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in so concluding. The court also concluded that the settlement was fundamentally fair; the notice in this case adequately apprised class members of all material elements of the settlement agreement and therefore complied with the requirements of Rule 23(e); and the district court properly limited its substantive review of the agreement as necessary to determine that it was "fair, adequate, and free from collusion." View "Lane, et al v. Facebook, Inc., et al" on Justia Law