Articles Posted in Class Action

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Julie Freeman, individually and on behalf of over five-thousand similarly situated car buyers, filed a lawsuit against J.L.H. Investments, LP, a/k/a Hendrick Honda of Easley ("Hendrick"), seeking damages under the South Carolina Dealers Act on the ground that Hendrick "unfairly" and "arbitrarily" charged all of its customers "closing fees" that were not calculated to reimburse Hendrick for actual closing costs. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Freeman in the amount of $1,445,786.00 actual damages. In post-trial rulings, the trial judge: (1) denied Hendrick's motions to overturn or reduce the jury's verdict; (2) granted Freeman's motions to double the actual damages award and to award attorneys' fees and costs; and (3) denied Freeman's motion for prejudgment interest. The South Carolina Supreme Court certified this case from the Court of Appeals, and finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Freeman v. J.L.H. Investments" on Justia Law

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Appellants John Doe, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 separately sued Respondents the Bishop of Charleston and the Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston in his official capacity (respondents). The cases were consolidated, and respondents moved to dismiss on the pleadings. The trial court granted the motion. In 2007, respondents entered into a class action settlement agreement (the settlement) to settle the claims of "[a]ll individuals born on or before August 30, 1980 who, as minors, were sexually abused at any time by agents or employees of the Diocese of Charleston" as well as their spouses and parents, except those whose claims had been independently resolved. The settlement established a fund from which awards would be made to claimants who established their sexual abuse claims by arbitration. Appellants alleged they did not receive notice of the settlement. In 2009, after the claims and opt-out period provided for in the settlement had expired, they brought suit alleging claims of the type covered by the settlement. After careful consideration of the trial court record, the Supreme Court concluded: (1) the language of the settlement did not waive its res judicata effect as to future claimants, so that appellants were not entitled to treatment as class claimants; (2) however, dismissal on the pleadings was not warranted on the questions whether appellants were deprived of notice or adequate representation in the underlying class settlement and, if so, whether the statute of limitations was tolled on their claim of negligent supervision. If appellants could establish on remand that they were denied due process owing to lack of notice or because of inadequate representation in the class action proceedings, and that the statute of limitations was tolled, the Supreme Court held that they could proceed on their claims. View "Doe v. The Bishop of Charleston" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from a class action lawsuit brought by Appellants John Doe #53, John Doe #66, John Doe #66A, John Doe #67, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Rachel Roe. The plaintiffs in the underlying class action consisted of two classes: one for victims of childhood sexual abuse by agents of the Diocese and one for the spouses and parents of victims. A settlement in the class action was approved by the trial judge over Appellants' objections. Appellants moved to alter or amend the order approving the settlement. While Appellants' motion to alter or amend was pending, they reached a separate settlement agreement with the Diocese and class counsel. This agreement provided that the Diocese would pay Appellants $1.375 million to their settle claims, in exchange for Appellants' agreement to opt out of the class action, execute releases, and withdraw all pending motions and objections with prejudice. Appellants presented several issues for the Supreme Court's review, including some relating to the trial court's approval of the settlement agreements. Upon consideration of the arguments presented by the class, the Supreme Court found that due to the executed settlement agreement, there were no issues for further consideration. The Court dismissed the appeal as moot. View "Doe v. Bishop of Charleston" on Justia Law