Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit against her former employer (the City), a law firm, and CBC, alleging that defendants violated their obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), in handling a consumer report that she agreed to provide as part of her application for employment with the City. The district court dismissed plaintiff's claims against the City and law firm for failure to state a claim and granted judgment on the pleadings for CBC. The Eighth Circuit held that plaintiff lacked Article III standing to bring her claims in federal court. In this case, plaintiff failed to plead an intangible injury to her privacy that was sufficient to confer Article III standing and there was no well-pleaded allegation that the City acted beyond her consent. Furthermore, plaintiff's claims of reputational harm, compromised security and lost time did not establish Article III standing. Likewise, plaintiff lacked standing to pursue her claim that the City's law firm and CBC violated her rights under the Act. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's orders and remanded with instructions that plaintiff's complaint be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. View "Auer v. CBCInnovis, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant in an action alleging that the law firm violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Plaintiff alleged that his rights were violated under the FDCPA where, after he received his cease letter, the firm sent him a garnishment summons cover letter and tried to collect the underlying debt during a September phone call. The court held that the district court did not fail to apply the unsophisticated consumer standard where plaintiff's experience in debt collection and FDCPA litigation belies his grievance; the law firm did not violate plaintiff's rights by briefly discussing a possible resolution of the debt during the phone call, because plaintiff voluntarily and knowingly waived his cease letter for purposes of allowing the debt collector to answer his question after plaintiff called to ask a question about the underlying debt; the court agreed with the district court's assessment that plaintiff's call was an unsubtle and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to provoke the debt collector into committing an FDCPA violation; and the letter accompanying the garnishment summons was accurate. View "Scheffler v. Gurstel Chargo, P.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a putative class action against Air EVAC asserting three claims for relief under Arkansas law. The district court dismissed all claims as preempted by the express preemption provision in the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed on a narrower basis and held that the fairness of plaintiff's transaction with Air EVAC and the reasonableness of Air EVAC's price were governed by federal law. Likewise, the court held that the ADA preempted plaintiff's claim that Air EVAC may not seek restitution against class members because it lacked clean hands. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's declaratory judgment claims, like his fraud claims, were ADA-preempted. The court noted that plaintiff's may bring contract defenses and unpreempted judicial remedies were also available. View "Ferrell v. Air EVAC EMS, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in an action alleging that FCA violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) by making deceptive representations about the safety of certain Jeep vehicles. Plaintiff also appealed the denial of his motion to remand to state court. The Eighth Circuit held that it had jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) where the amount in controversy jurisdictional limit was satisfied after taking into consideration the sum of damages and the amount of potential attorneys' fees. The court held that plaintiff's claim under the MMPA failed where his purchase had no relationship with the alleged misrepresentation regarding the vehicles' safety. In this case, there was no evidence suggesting that either the seller or the buyer was aware of the misrepresentation, nor was the intermediary seller an unwitting conduit for passing on the substance of the misrepresentation. View "Faltermeier v. FCA US LLC" on Justia Law

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Under the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1447(c), if at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of a putative class action alleging that Nomax violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by transmitting twelve advertisements to the Heart Center by fax without including a proper opt-in notice on each advertisement. The court held that Heart Center lacked Article III standing, but that the proper disposition was remand to state court under section 1447(c). Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to return the case to state court. View "St. Louis Heart Center, Inc. v. Nomax, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to American Family in an action alleging breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of Minnesota's consumer fraud statutes. The court held that American Family did not breach the contract because nothing in the policy imposed on American Family a contractual obligation to make objectively reasonable or accurate replacement cost estimates; American Family did not negligently misrepresent the replacement cost of plaintiffs home where, regardless of any breach of duty, no genuine dispute existed as to justifiable reliance upon the estimates; and plaintiffs could point to any promise, misrepresentation, or false statement made by American Family, let alone one that they relied upon, justifiably or unjustifiably, in deciding to purchase or renew the policy. View "Nelson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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False representation of the amount of a debt that overstates what is owed under state law materially violates 15 U.S.C. 1692e(2)(A) as well. Plaintiff filed a putative class action against Midland Funding and two debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The district court dismissed plaintiff's amended complaint for failing to state a claim. At issue on appeal was whether Messerli violated 15 U.S.C. 1692e and 1692f by attempting to collect, and representing plaintiff owed, compound interest on the debt in violation of Minn. Stat. 334.01. The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded as to the claim against Messerli, holding that the district court erred in holding that the allegation under review did not state a plausible claim under sections 1692e and 1692f. View "Coyne v. Messerli & Kramer P.A." on Justia Law

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Defendants are the nation’s largest distributors of pre-filled propane exchange tanks, which come in a standard size. Before 2008, Defendants filled the tanks with 17 pounds of propane. In 2008, due to rising prices, Defendants reduced the amount in each tato 15 pounds, maintaining the same price. Plaintiffs, indirect purchasers, who bought tanks from retailers, claimed this effectively raised the price. In 2009, plaintiffs filed a class action alleging conspiracy under the Sherman Act. Plaintiffs settled with both Defendants. In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission issued a complaint against Defendants, which settled in 2015 by consent orders, for conspiring to artificially inflate tank prices. In 2014, another group of indirect purchasers (Ortiz) brought a class action against Defendants, alleging: “Despite their settlements, Defendants continued to conspire, and ... maintained their illegally agreed-upon fill levels, preserving the unlawfully inflated prices." The Ortiz suit became part of a multidistrict proceeding that included similar allegations by direct purchasers (who bought tanks directly from Defendants for resale). The Eighth Circuit reversed the dismissal of the direct-purchaser suit as time-barred, holding that each sale in a price-fixing conspiracy starts the statutory period running again. The court subsequently held that the indirect purchasers inadequately pled an injury-in-fact and lack standing to pursue an injunction to increase the fill levels of the tanks and may not seek disgorgement of profits. View "Ortiz v. Ferrellgas Partners, L.P." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was the certification of a class composed of individuals whose payment card information was compromised as a result of the 2013 Target security breach. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's recertification of the class on remand, holding that the district court did not err in certifying the proposed class, which included both persons who suffered an actual financial loss and those who had not yet suffered a loss. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by including the costs of notice and administration expenses as a benefit to the class as a whole in calculating the total benefit to the class, and in finding that the settlement agreement was fair, reasonable, and adequate. Finally, the court affirmed the attorneys' fee award. View "Sciaroni v. Target Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Accounts Receivable in an action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. The court held that the district court did not err by applying the materiality standard to the relevant provisions of the Act; Accounts Receivable's inadequate documentation of the assignment did not constitute a materially false representation, and the other alleged inaccuracies in the exhibits were not material; and Accounts Receivable did not commit unfair practices and violate the Act by trying to collect interest under Minnesota Statutes 549.09. View "Hill v. Accounts Receivable Services, LLC" on Justia Law