Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jeub v. B/G Foods, Inc. case brief summary

Jeub v. B/G Foods, Inc case brief
1942 U.S. Dist. Ct of Minnesota

Facts: Jeub wants to recover damages from defendant on grounds that they were served with contaminated ham at a restaurant. Prior to defendant’s answer, they brought in Swift as a 3rd party since they are ones who sold the ham. Defendant says they are free of blame and that Swift is responsible. Swift wants to vacate the order.
Reasoning: Court says there is no reason to vacate the order since a judicial proceeding against the defendant will get them indemnified so much quicker and courts will not be tied up. Rule 14 is machinery to allow the rights of ALL parties to be determined in one proceeding. So if Swift is liable to the defendant, then there is no reason why the defendant cannot avail themselves of the rule. 
Claims must be typical of the class; cannot bring a claim that is not the same as every other plaintiff’s claim would be. Lawyers cannot bring a class action for own benefit but could bring it in a setting that is for 1st amendment rights. Some claims like immigration and federal securities fraud are not allowed to be class actions. 
A bunch of other rules to make Rule 23 easier and harder to satisfy to bring class actions.
It must fairly and adequately protect interests of the class; the court has not identified factors to govern a court’s assessment whether it's fair or accurate. However, the decision is binding, because otherwise, it’s a waste of time and money. 
Types of class actions: District Judge must decide if, after the 6 prereqs, it falls into the three categories from Rule 23(b)
  1. Prejudice Class Actions –Asks whether this class action can avoid prejudice that would be present by individual actions. Under this provision, its mandatory and cannot be opted out. 
    1. Applies in situations where a judgment can turn out one way or the other depending on the suit. It is unfair to the defendant. Ex. Election board voting right dispute.
  2. Actions want to change defendant’s conduct prospectively. The defendant’s conduct needs to apply generally to the entire class. Ex. employment discrimination
    1. Money damages must be incidental to injunctive relief. Generally, if amounts are different per plaintiff, action cannot be maintained under this. It must be ONE end result that provides relief for all 
    2. Also no option to opt out here
  3. Damage Class Actions – Allows for claims of injury by seeking money. 
    1. Two conditions: 1. Questions of law or fact common to class must predominate over any questions affecting only individual class members(this is ambiguous and causes problems in court) and 2. Court must find that class action is superior to other methods for efficient adjudication. 
      1. Four factors to consider with 4th being key. 4th is difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action. That consideration requires looking at size of class, number of members and practicality of notice
      2. Option to opt out
Notice notes: 

  1. Court has to certify the class action. After that point, adequate notice must be provided to all parties involved and the option to opt out given. The cost of this notice is purely on the plaintiff, it cannot be on the defendant. 
  2. Notice that is not adequate for due process can allow a later plaintiff to bring a suit. The point of it is to allow the option to opt out and bring their own suit. If members can be identified through reasonable effort then individual notice must be given. 
    1. Notice not required for mandatory class actions, such as injunctive or prejudice
  3. Content for notice: Must be simple enough for people to understand otherwise it does not serve its function
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