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Showing 16 posts in Class Actions.

Eighth Circuit Rejects Bifurcated TCE Class Certification

In a case that highlights the complexity of structuring class actions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a trial court’s decision to certify a class claiming damages from trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination.  See Ebert v. Gen Mills, Inc., 823 F.3d 472 (8th Cir. 2016).  The Eighth Circuit held that the trial court abused its discretion by narrowing the putative class and the issues before the court. Read More ›

Iowa Trial Court Certifies Class of 4,000 Residents in Corn Mill Nuisance Suit

In a victory for toxic tort class action plaintiffs, an Iowa trial court certified a class covering approximately 4,000 residents who alleged property damages due to air emissions from a nearby corn milling plant.  See Freeman v. Grain Processing Corporation, No. LACV021232 (Muscatine Cty. Dist.. Ct. Oct. 28, 2015). Read More ›

Georgia High Court Certifies Landowner Class in Noxious Fumes Suit

Although courts often decline to certify classes in environmental exposure or contamination cases due to differing circumstances among the plaintiffs, the Georgia Court of Appeals found that a group of property owners claiming hydrogen sulfide gas emissions from a paper mill had damaged their property had demonstrated sufficient commonality to warrant class certification. See Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products, LP. v. Ratner, No. A13A0455 (Ga. Ct. App. July 16, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/GAPACvRatner.pdf.  The certified class included the owners of 34 residential properties and 33 parcels zoned for industrial, agricultural and other uses in an area around the mill, who brought nuisance, negligence, and trespass claims alleging injuries from hydrogen sulfide fumes released by the mill. Georgia-Pacific, slip op. at 6. Read More ›

State Corporation Website Insufficient to Establish Citizenship of Corporate Class Members in Pollution Class Action

Striking a blow to plaintiffs trying to remand an action back to state court, the Northern District of Georgia found that office address information from a state’s corporation website is not sufficient to establish citizenship of corporations or partnerships for the purposes of showing class members’ residency under the “local controversy” provision of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). See Anderson v. King Am. Finishing, Inc., No. 1:11-cv-2258-JEC, (N.D. Ga. Mar. 25, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Anderson.pdf.   Read More ›

Third Circuit Finds Continuous Release of Hazardous Chemicals To Be an “Event or Occurrence” Sufficient for Remand under Class Action Fairness Act

In a victory for plaintiffs seeking to keep their mass tort actions in state court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held the continuous release and dispersal of hazardous or toxic chemicals qualifies as an “event or occurrence” under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), allowing a federal District Court to remand a mass action to a state trial court. See Abraham v. St. Croix Renaissance Group, No. 13-1725 (3d Cir. May 17, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Abraham.pdf.   Read More ›

D.C. Court Denies Class Certification in Drinking Water Case

In a significant victory for Defendant D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (“D.C. Water”), which is represented in the action by Beveridge & Diamond, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in a putative class action relating to claims of injuries due to lead allegedly found in drinking water in the city. Parkhurst v. D.C. Water & Sewer Auth., No. 2009 CA 000971 B (D.C. Sup. Ct. Apr. 8, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Parkhurst.pdf. Read More ›

Supreme Court Shoots Down Stipulated CAFA Caps

In a setback to plaintiffs seeking to get a tactical advantage by litigating in state court, the Supreme Court held that potential class action plaintiffs cannot cap their damages in an effort to avoid the reach of the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). The Standard Fire Ins. Co. v. Knowles, No. 11-1450 (U.S. Mar. 19, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Knowles.pdf. CAFA allows defendants to remove to federal court those putative class actions that seek at least $5 million in the aggregate, assuming other factors are satisfied. Knowles, slip op. at 1. In Knowles, the Supreme Court held that potential class-action plaintiffs could not cap their damages in an effort to keep their cases in state court and circumvent CAFA. Id.   Read More ›

Federal Court Certifies Class on Liability Claims Despite Differences Among Class Members on Exposure, Damages

In a limited but significant victory for class action plaintiffs, a federal court in Indiana granted class certification to 1,700 Indiana residents with respect to only the liability portion of their claims against the owners of a wood recycling facility based on alleged exposure to smoke, dust and “extreme noxious odors.” Greene v. Will, 3:09-cv-00510 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 29, 2013), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Greene.pdf. The district court held that the issues of which defendants caused the alleged harm, what chemicals were emitted, and when the chemicals were emitted, could and should be determined on a class-wide basis. Greene. slip. op at 7-9.   Read More ›

Beveridge & Diamond Secures Class Certification Denial in Drinking Water Case

Litigators in Beveridge & Diamond’s Washington, D.C. office secured a denial of class certification on behalf of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (“DC Water”) in a major class action relating to claims of injuries due to lead allegedly found in drinking water in the city.  Read More ›

Environmental Tort Suit Arising from “Local Event” Not Mass Action

Striking a blow to class action defendants seeking to litigate class action claims in federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Virgin Islands remanded an environmental tort action brought by more than 400 plaintiffs back to state court.   Abraham v. St. Croix Renaissance Group, L.L.L.P., Civil Action No. 12-11 (D.V.I. Dec. 7, 2012), available at www.bdlaw.com/assets/attachments/Abraham.pdf.  The court held that the case belongs in state court rather than federal court because it does not meet the definition of “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) given that the action was based on a “local event or occurrence” that took place in the state in which the action was filed.  Abraham, slip op. at 8.  Read More ›