Articles Posted in Class Action

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In 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint and sought class certification, alleging that defendant sent unsolicited fax advertisement, violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. 227) and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/2) and constituting common-law conversion of toner and paper. Each count included class allegations indicating that plaintiff was filing on behalf of a class estimated at over 40 individuals. Defendant unsuccessfully sought summary judgment solely on count I (federal Act), alleging that on three separate occasions it tendered an unconditional offer of payment exceeding the total recoverable damages, rendering the claim moot. The court reasoned that defendant did not offer tender on count I before plaintiff moved for class certification and rejected defendant’s argument that the motion was merely a “shell” motion. The appellate court affirmed certification of the class on counts II and III but reversed class certification on count I, agreeing that plaintiff’s initial motion for class certification, filed concurrently with its complaint, was an insufficient “shell” motion. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court decision, holding that its precedent did not impose any explicit requirements on the motion for class certification, let alone a heightened evidentiary or factual basis for the motion. View "Ballard RN Center, Inc. v. Kohll's Pharmacy & Homecare, Inc." on Justia Law

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Bridgeview Health Care Center filed a class action complaint against Clark, an Illinois resident who operates Affordable Digital Hearing, a sole proprietorship out of Terre Haute, Indiana. Bridgeview alleged that Clark sent Bridgeview and others unsolicited faxes and claimed violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. 227; common law conversion of its fax paper and toner; and violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS 505/2. Clark had a comprehensive general liability policy issued by State Farm, an Illinois corporation. The policy was purchased through an Indiana agent and issued to Clark’s Indiana business address. State Farm sought declaratory judgment that it had no duty to defend in Indiana state court. The action was dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction over Bridgeview. Bridgeview sought a declaration, in Illinois state court that State Farm had a duty to defend and indemnify Clark under the advertising injury and property damage provisions of the policy. State Farm argued that Illinois law conflicts with Indiana law on coverage issues and that Indiana law should apply. The circuit court found that there was no conflict and no need to conduct a choice-of-law analysis. The appellate court reversed, finding that decisions cited by State Farm were sufficient to raise the possibility of a conflict, requiring a choice-of-law analysis The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, finding that State Farm failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that an actual conflict exists between Illinois and Indiana law. View "Bridgeview Health Care Ctr., Ltd. v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co." on Justia Law

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The railroad was originally sued under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act in 2002 in Mississippi, where Fennell lived and worked and was allegedly exposed to asbestos. He had also worked for the railroad in Louisiana. In 2006, after discovery, the Mississippi court dismissed without prejudice. In 2009, Fennell refiled in the circuit court of St. Clair County, Illinois. The railroad sought dismissal under the interstate doctrine of forum non conveniens. The circuit court denied the motion; the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, stating that the circuit court did not consider all of the relevant factors. The citizens of St. Clair County should not be asked to bear the burden of this lawsuit. The majority of the witnesses, including treating physicians, are in Mississippi and not subject to Illinois subpoenas. Although the St. Clair County circuit court cited “almost 80 years of relevant evidence as to the defendant’s knowledge of the exposure to asbestos” that were held by the defendant’s Belleville law firm located in the county, the supreme court ruled that such documents can be copied and that this is not sufficient to tip the balance as to the proper forum. View "Fennell v. IL Cent. R.R. Co." on Justia Law

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Chicago taxi drivers filed a class action in 2000 concerning how they received traffic tickets. The trial court certified the class in 2002 and, in 2005, issued partial summary judgment that a ticket should be issued to a driver at the scene or placed on the vehicle and that to substitute mailed notice (a fly-by ticket) would be illegal. The city argued that such occurrences were rare or had happened only if the driver was confrontational or fled. In 2008 a new judge granted a motion to decertify, concluding that commonality no longer existed. Questions concerning whether there had been a “decision on the merits” were certified. The Illinois Supreme Court held that decertification was not precluded. A decision on the merits requires a complete determination of liability on a claim based on the facts disclosed by evidence, which establishes a right to recover in at least one class member, but which is short of final judgment. Liability which would establish a right to recovery had not yet been determined; the original trial judge did not decide whether the city violated the law by issuing a fly-by citation to any driver. View "Mashal v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law