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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…

Now that the California Consumer Privacy Act is in effect, it is imperative to consider the potential litigation risks that many companies are likely to face as a result of the new law. While many commentators have analyzed the CCPA’s express private right of action for data breaches that occur in the absence of reasonable security measures, it’s important to note that class litigation may be used in an attempt to privately enforce the other…

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…

CANADA – 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…

In Philipp v. Federal Republic of Germany, No. 17-7064, 925 F.3d 1349 (D.C. Cir. 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed an earlier decision allowing a lawsuit involving art taken by the Nazis to proceed in district court in Washington, D.C., but also highlighted judicial disagreement regarding the application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”). [1] The FSIA generally bars claims against foreign governments, but specifically provides…

The general rule in the United States is that litigants are not required to post security bonds with the court in the event that they ultimately may be liable to the other party. Indeed, in what is often called the “American Rule,” each party to litigation bears its own costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, no matter the outcome. US rules often allow a prevailing party to recover “costs,” but only costs other than attorneys’…

In Shippitsa Ltd. v. Slack, No. 18-CV-1036, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121994 (N.D. Tex. July 23, 2019), a federal district court reiterated the standards applicable to determining whether there is personal jurisdiction over a foreign defendant in the context of online web businesses and allegations of trademark infringement,. The court found that under federal law, the Cyprus-incorporated and -headquartered defendant’s interactive website allowing the commercial exchange of information with Texas customers was sufficient for the…

Overtime class actions are in the headlines again. On February 22, 2019, a class action claim seeking damages of over $100 million was filed against Flight Centre, an Australia-based travel services provider with stores in Canada and internationally. The claim alleges that Flight Centre systematically failed to pay overtime to its retail sales employees, referred to as “travel consultants”, requiring them to consistently work more than their scheduled hours, and implemented policies that fail to…

CANADA – The Ontario Superior Court has dismissed a proposed class action involving the securities of a foreign company purchased on foreign exchanges. In a recent decision, Justice Belobaba found that Ontario lacked jurisdiction simpliciter or, alternatively, was forum non conveniens. This decision reinforces “[t]he prevailing international norm that securities litigation should take place in the forum where the securities trading took place.” Background In 2015, a German carmaker (the “Manufacturer”) admitted that it had…

CANADA – Allegations of “Add-on pricing”, or “drip pricing”, have become a hot topic in recent years as consumers have moved towards making more purchases online. Drip pricing can be thought of as the incremental disclosure of additional fees. Bit-by-bit, these add-ons can cause a discrepancy between the final price of an item and the original listed price. One common example is the addition of airline baggage fees, which can dramatically increase total airfare prices. Other examples of drip pricing include:

  • delivery fees for event tickets;
  • municipal taxes charged by hotels;
  • rental car insurance fees; and
  • bank withdrawal fees.

While the concept of drip pricing has existed for some time, the advent of e-commerce has given rise to increased litigation and regulatory risk for businesses selling online services and products. Website interface design allows businesses to be more flexible in how they display and structure their pricing, however, the same flexibility can lead to pitfalls, prompting consumers to respond with class proceedings based on allegations of deceptive marketing practices.