Here are six important cases to follow in the coming months (listed in no particular order):
- Kwikset Corp. v. Superior Court (Benson), no. S171845 (Cal.). This UCL case was argued in the California Supreme Court on November 3, 2010, which means that the opinion is due by Tuesday, February 1, 2010. Because the Court hands down opinions on Mondays and Thursdays, we can expect the opinion no later than Monday, January 31, 2011 -- assuming former Chief Justice George sends his vote in from Antarctica! In this case, the Supreme Court will be interpreting Prop. 64's "lost money or property" language.
- AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, no. 09-893 (U.S.). This case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on November 9, 2010. The issue is whether the FAA preempts state-law unconscionability principles as applied to no-class-action arbitration clauses in consumer contracts of adhesion, and the continuing vitality of our own Supreme Court's Discover Bank decision could be at stake. The opinion will be filed by the end of the current Term, which means no later than June 27, 2011.
- Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum), no. S166350 (Cal.). This wage and hour case raises substantive questions relating to California's meal period and rest break laws, but could also be a significant class certification case. The Supreme Court has not directly addressed core class certification issues since Sav-on in 2004. The case is fully briefed, but has not yet been scheduled for oral argument. It may or may not be set this year. [Disclosure: My firm is co-counsel for the workers in Brinker.]
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, no. 10-277 (U.S.). The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert. in this case on December 6, 2010, and has scheduled oral argument for March 29, 2010. The opinion will be filed by the end of June 2011, when the current Term ends. The district court granted class certification of certain employment discrimination claims under Rule 23(b)(2), and the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, affirmed in part.
- Mazza v. American Honda Motor Co., no. 09-55376 (9th Cir.). In this auto defect case, the district court granted nationwide class certification of UCL and CLRA claims for recovery of economic losses. Mazza v. American Honda Motor Co., 254 F.R.D. 610 (C.D. Cal. 2008). The Ninth Circuit granted a Rule 23(f) petition for permission to appeal, and the case was argued on June 11, 2010. One day after the Supreme Court granted cert. in Dukes, however, the Ninth Circuit issued a sua sponte order deferring submission of the action pending resolution of that case.
- Sullivan v. DB Investments, Inc., no. 08-2784 (3d Cir.). In this antitrust case for price-fixing in the diamond industry, the Third Circuit reversed the district court's order granting final approval of a nationwide class action settlement. Sullivan v. DB Investments, Inc., 613 F.3d 134 (3d Cir. 2010). On August 27, 2010, en banc rehearing was granted, and the case has been scheduled for argument on February 23, 2011. On November 10, 2010, the Court ordered supplemental briefing on some broad class-certification-related questions.