Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Adeli v. Silverstar Automotive
Plaintiff filed suit against Silverstar, alleging that it intentionally misrepresented the condition of the used Ferrari it sold him. A jury awarded plaintiff $20,201 in compensatory and incidental damages and $5.8 million in punitive damages on his claims for fraud, breach of express warranty, and deceptive trade practices under Arkansas law. The district court subsequently denied Silverstar's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law but partially granted its motion to alter or amend the judgment, reducing the jury's punitive damages award to $500,000.The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to establish justifiable reliance on Silverstar's misrepresentations about the conditions of the car; the district court did not err in denying Silverstar's renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's fraud claim where an "as is" clause does not bar an action by the vendee based on claims of fraud or misrepresentation; and the court need not address whether Silverstar should have been granted judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's other claims for breach of warranty and deceptive trade practices, because Arkansas law allows a successful fraud plaintiff to recover compensatory, incidental, and punitive damages. The court also held that the district court did not err in reducing the punitive damages award, because the award was grossly excessive and in violation of the due process clause. View "Adeli v. Silverstar Automotive" on Justia Law
Hale v. Emerson Electric Co.
The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order certifying a nationwide class of plaintiffs in a case involving allegedly deceptive advertising practices. The action arose out of allegedly deceptive advertising associated with RIDGID brand vacuums. The district concluded that all class members' claims would be governed by Missouri law and thus determined class resolution was appropriate.The court held that the claims of non-Missouri residents did not relate to “trade or commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri” and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act could not be applied to them. The court also held that the district court should have conducted separate choice of law analyses for the breach of warranty and unjust enrichment claims. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hale v. Emerson Electric Co." on Justia Law
Golan v. FreeEats.com, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed suit against numerous parties, alleging violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The Eighth Circuit revisited its prior holding in this case because of an intervening decision from the Supreme Court. The court held that, even under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1549 (2016), plaintiffs suffered a concrete injury when they received the two answering machine messages and thus have Article III standing.The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to give the jury plaintiffs' preferred instruction on direct liability regarding Defendant Leininger, who hired Defendant ccAdvertising, which made the calls in violation of the TCPA. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err in reducing the award of statutory damages against ccAdvertising, because the larger award would violated the Due Process Clause. View "Golan v. FreeEats.com, Inc." on Justia Law
Alleruzzo v. SuperValu, Inc.
A group of customers filed suit against SuperValu after hackers accessed customer financial information from hundreds of grocery stores operated by defendant. The Eighth Circuit previously affirmed the dismissal of all but one of the suit's named plaintiffs for lack of standing and, on remand, the district court dismissed the remaining plaintiff for failure to state a claim and denied plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend.The court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion for leave to amend because plaintiffs' postjudgment motion was untimely. The court also held that the remaining plaintiff's allegations fell short of stating a claim for relief under Illinois law for negligence, consumer protection, implied, contract, and unjust enrichment. View "Alleruzzo v. SuperValu, Inc." on Justia Law
Klein v. Credico Inc.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Credico's motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that the content of a debt collection letter violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The court held that plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead that Credico violated the Act by using "PROFESSIONAL DEBT COLLECTORS" and the acronym "CCB" because they were organization names other than Credico's true name. Furthermore, Credico did not violate the Act by having a non-licensed signatory on the letter, because there were two other licensed signatories in the letter. Finally, under Minnesota law, Credico was permitted to seek prejudgment interest. View "Klein v. Credico Inc." on Justia Law
Auer v. CBCInnovis, Inc.
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
Scheffler v. Gurstel Chargo, P.A.
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
Ferrell v. Air EVAC EMS, Inc.
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
Faltermeier v. FCA US LLC
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
St. Louis Heart Center, Inc. v. Nomax, Inc.
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