Civil Action Podcast

28. Involuntary Releases in Class Actions; The Death Knell Doctrine; Phelps Factors; Assembly Bill 9

Involuntary Releases in Class Actions; The Death Knell Doctrine; Phelps Factors; Assembly Bill 9

Brian and Shant discuss the following cases:

Brown v. Upside Gating: Defendants file an appeal to a judicial order arguing that it was tantamount to an injunction because it required appellants to take affirmative steps to affect invalidation of the releases at issue.  The court clarifies that an order is not an injunction and therefore not appealable.

Williams v. Impacts Lab, Inc.: Plaintiffs were provided leave to amend their complaint to add a new plaintiff as a class representative.  Unfortunately, counsel filed the amended complaint with the same plaintiff and yet again defendant’s motion was granted.  In order to apply, an appeal must derive from something dispositive in the case.

Death Knell Doctrine – a de-facto final judgment for absent plaintiffs under circumstances whereto the persistence of a viable plaintiff claim creates a risk – no formal final judgment will be entered.  In order for the doctrine to apply, all class allegations must be disposed, because a partial rejection of allegations is not enough.

Henson v. Fidelity: Plaintiffs filed a class action for RESPA violations involving real estate.  The district court judge throws everything out but a sliver of the case making it unappealable.  Thereafter, the parties enter into an agreement to dismiss for purposes of preserving an appeal.  However, USSC in Microsoft v. Baker ruled that parties cannot stipulate to appellate jurisdiction.

Assembly Bill 9: Stop Harassment and Reporting Act (SHARE) extends the statute of limitations exclusively for employment discrimination.  A FEHA letter/complaint must be filed within three years, extended from one year, from the incident(s) that is actionable.