An appeals court decision on Tuesday sent shock waves throughout the class action bar for potentially threatening the ability of lawyers to get approval of national class action settlements in the Ninth Circuit.
In a 2-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that a federal judge in Los Angeles failed to consider potential differences in various state consumer laws—a process called a “choice-of-law” analysis—in finding that common issues predominated in a nationwide class action settlement with Hyundai Motor America Inc. and Kia Motors America Inc. in 2015. The majority relied heavily on the 2012 Ninth Circuit decision in Mazza v. American Honda Motor in vacating certification of the settlement class and remanding the case.
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