February 12, 2018
Partner Jeff Jacobson
was quoted in The National Law Journal
article “'Hyundai' Case Recharges Debate Over Class Action Approval Standards.” The article examines the Ninth Circuit’s decision to vacate a multistate consumer class action settlement in In re: Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation
. On January 23, the Ninth Circuit found that a California judge didn't thoroughly consider varying state consumer protection laws before certifying a nationwide class, overturning a $200 million settlement over allegations that Hyundai and Kia misstated vehicle fuel efficiency. The decision has sparked debate over how much is required to approve nationwide settlements when varying state laws are involved.
“It definitely is something anyone positioning to settle a class action case in a Ninth Circuit jurisdiction has to think twice about and do more work than we would have thought we needed to do a few weeks ago,” Jeff said. “It makes settlements more vulnerable to objections, and it’s going to make district judges think harder about class action settlements proposed to them.” He added that the decision could be characterized as “persnickety,” “[but] it need not be a major hurdle … You don’t need to go line by line and say this is why it’s fair in every jurisdiction. You just need to make sure there’s no impediment in some state’s law that would preclude the case from going forward.”
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