In Moyle v. Liberty Mutual Retirement Benefit Plan, 823 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. May 20, 2016), the Ninth Circuit affirmed both class certification and the judgment in an action against an ERISA employee benefit plan.
The case asserted a series of claims arising out of alleged misstatements in the summary plan description. Id. at 956. The district court and the Ninth Circuit both rejected the argument that individualized proof of reliance was necessary, or that it precluded class certification:
[W]e affirm the district court on the ground that where the defendant's representations were allegedly made on a uniform and classwide basis, individual issues of reliance do not preclude class certification. See Hanon v. Dataproducts Corp., 976 F.2d 497, 509 (9th Cir. 1992) (“We emphasize that the defense of non-reliance is not a basis for denial of class certification.”). Therefore, the district court correctly held that Appellants met the commonality and typicality requirements.
Id. at 964-65. The Ninth Circuit also held that common questions predominated, and that class certification was proper even though "some [class members potentially] would receive relief while others would not." Id. at 965.
On the merits, however, the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in the defendant's favor on all but one claim, holding that reliance, classwide or otherwise, had not been proven. Id. at 962-64. The upshot, therefore, is that the class members are bound by this judgment.