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Class Actions

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On 24 November, the European Parliament approved the final text of the EU Representative Actions Directive. The approved directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU’s Official Journal. Member States will then have 24 months to transpose the directive into national law and an extra six months in which to implement it. The new rules will apply to representative actions brought on or after its date of application. Although Member…

The Supreme Court of Canada has authorized a Quebec class action against an investment fund dealer and investment fund manager. The class members are customers who allege they were insufficiently informed about the risk profile of two investment products. See Desjardins Financial Services Firm Inc. v Asselin, 2020 SCC 30. The decision to authorize the class action does not confirm the merits of the allegations. The Supreme Court reaffirmed that “the threshold for authorizing a…

China has launched a new class action mechanism to crack down on corporate malfeasance in the securities market. Although legal actions by individual investors were possible previously, this was often difficult and costly. Under the new mechanism, the China Securities Investor Services Centre, a Chinese government-affiliated body, can sue on behalf of no fewer than 50 investors in a company, on an opt-in basis. The finding by a court or a regulator that a company…

For many hundreds of years since old English common law, a public nuisance cause of action allowed the government to stop, quite literally, a public nuisance that threatened the welfare of a community. The most common public nuisance cause of action involved real property—for example, pollution of the air, water, or land. But public nuisance causes of action also have involved other threats to the welfare of a community, such as storing fireworks or explosives,…

An updated (and reportedly final) text for Europe’s new collective redress regime has been adopted. The European Commission published the agreed text of the directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and repealing Directive 2009/22/EC here. In this article, we consider what is being proposed in this latest draft and what we can expect to happen next. Recap: What has happened so far? On 22 June 2020, the European…

In Godfrey v Pioneer, 2019 SCC 42 (“Godfrey“), the Supreme Court of Canada has lowered the bar for certifying price-fixing class actions brought under the federal Competition Act, while also allowing new categories of claimants to participate as class members. The decision arose from a class action filed in British Columbia against a group of 42 foreign companies who manufactured optical disc drives and related products. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants conspired to fix…

It appears that courts have found a way to try to keep class actions alive even where traditional damages claims do not satisfy the stringent standard for class certification. Specifically, recent California federal court decisions in class action litigation reflect a seeming willingness to certify classes for purposes of injunctive relief when damages claims do not qualify for class treatment. While it used to be that a defendant could escape financial exposure by showing that…

Overview of Australia’s class action system Class actions are a well-established dispute resolution mechanism in Australia, under both State and Federal regimes. The threshold requirements for bringing a class action are low: class actions require only that seven or more group members have claims against the same person(s), which are in respect of, or arise out of, the same, similar or related circumstances and give rise to at least one substantial common issue of law…

Once a darling of the class action plaintiffs’ bar, food labeling class actions are becoming tough nuts to crack for plaintiffs in US District Courts. Recent decisions demonstrate a progressive unwillingness on the part of federal courts to accept arguments that consumers can be misled by food products’ labels where the ingredient list on packaging expressly discloses information to the consumer about what is in the product. The courts are also more and more unwilling…

In a 5-4 decision issued on 28 May 2019, the United States Supreme Court held that the federal removal statute does not permit a third-party counterclaim defendant to remove a class action from state court to federal court. This decision prevents a defendant sued by way of a third-party counterclaim in state court from litigating in federal court notwithstanding the Class Action Fairness Act’s (CAFA) broad language allowing “any defendant” to remove a class action…