Articles Posted in Class Action

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The underlying class action here was brought against Southern Financial Life Insurance Company, which sold credit life and disability insurance through lending institutions, by purchasers of Southern Financial's credit life and disability policies. During the discovery phase, the trial court entered an order compelling Southern Financial to produce certain loan information and documents regarding the putative class members and the insurance sold to them. Southern Financial did not comply with the order, arguing that the loan information was not in its "possession, custody or control" within the meaning of Ky. R. Civ. P. 34.01, but rather, the information was in the possession of the individual lenders. After applying principles of general agency law, the trial court overruled the objection. Southern Financial subsequently sought a writ of prohibition to prevent the trial court's enforcement of the discovery order. The court of appeals declined to issue a writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Southern Financial was legally in control of the information it was compelled to disclose in the trial court's order, and therefore, the trial court committed no error. View "S. Fin. Life Ins. Co. v. Pike Circuit Court" on Justia Law

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Appellants, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against their Internet service providers (Providers). Providers' Internet service agreement contained an arbitration clause that required customers to submit damage claims against Insight to arbitration, and it barred class action litigation against Providers by their customers. The circuit court determined the class action ban was enforceable and dismissed Appellants' complaint. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the contractual provision under which Appellants waived their right to participate in class action litigation was enforceable under federal law; (2) the service agreement's choice of law provision was not enforceable; (3) the service agreement's general arbitration provision was enforceable; and (4) the provision imposing a confidentiality requirement upon the litigants to arbitration proceedings was void and severable from the remaining portions of the agreement. Remanded for entry of a final judgment. View "Schnuerle v. Insight Commc'ns Co., LP" on Justia Law

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Appellants, attorney Barbara Bonar and her law firm, claimed entitlement to a portion of the attorney's fees awarded in a class action settlement. Bonar and Appellees, a law firm and attorneys, initiated the class action as co-counsel. Before the settlement was negotiated, Bonar withdrew. Bonar claimed she was forced to withdraw. Following a bench trial, the circuit court concluded Bonar was not entitled to any of the attorney's fees because her withdrawal was voluntary. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the weight of the evidence supported the conclusion that Bonar withdrew from the case voluntarily, and therefore, Bonar was not entitled to any portion of the attorney's fees awarded to class counsel; (2) the trial court did not improperly limit discovery; and (3) the trial court did not violate Bonar's right to a fair trial by commenting on Bonar's conduct. View "B. Dahlenburg Bonar, P.S.C. v. Waite, Schneier, Bayless & Chesley Co., LPA" on Justia Law

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Appellant was charged with complicity to commit assault in the first degree, attempted burglary in the first degree, and tampering with physical evidence in a juvenile proceeding. Appellant was sixteen years old at the time. The district court found there was no probable cause to believe Appellant had used a firearm in the commission of the offenses under Ky. Rev. Stat. 635.020(4) and therefore declined to order transfer of Appellant to circuit court as a youthful offender. The Commonwealth filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, asking the circuit court to order the district court to transfer Appellant as a youth offender. The circuit court granted the writ, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the writ of mandamus issued by the circuit court was not an abuse of discretion where (1) a crime committed by complicity can fall under the mandatory transfer provision of section 635.020(4), and complicity to commit an offense involving use of a firearm requires transfer when an offense involving direct use of a firearm would; and (2) the district court erred in finding that a firearm was not used in Appellant's offense. View "K.R. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law