A powerful blow has just been struck by the Ninth Circuit today, as it’s rejected a corporation’s effort to escape from legal liability by paying off a few individuals to wipe away the claims of thousands. For a number of years now, many corporate defendants have tried to wipe away class actions – even in cases where they’ve broken the law in the exact same way respect to thousands of people – by trying to “pick off” the named class representative with an individual offer of cash. This issue has been to the U.S. Supreme Court twice in the last two years, but both times the Court issued very narrow decisions and did not address the broader underlying constitutional issues. In the most recent case, Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez (Gomez), decided in February (before Justice Scalia’s death), the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that if a defendant made an offer of judgment and the plaintiff didn’t accept it, that a case was not rendered moot. But the Supreme Court left open an “unanswered hypothetical” – it said that it was not saying whether the pick off maneuver would have worked if the defendant had actually placed the money in an escrow account and the district court had entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff. Continue reading the full blog post written by Paul Bland, Executive Director of Public Justice, by clicking the logo below:
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