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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Court of Appeal Issues Class Action "Virtual Representation" Decision

On January 22, 2009, the Second District Court of Appeal published its previous decision in Deleon v. Verizon Wireless, one of a growing list of cases that considers when the filing of an earlier class action will prohibit the filing of a later class action. In Deleon, the Court held that where the plaintiff in a class action pleads the same set of operative facts violating same primary rights as raised in a prior class action against the same defendant -- that employer made unlawful chargebacks against employees’ commissions -- even though parties sought different forms of relief, the primary right invaded was identical, and the latter class action was barred by res judicata to the extent that the plaintiff sought relief on behalf of class members who had settled the prior class action. The Court also held that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the plaintiff leave to amend his complaint to state claims that accrued after the settlement date of the prior action.

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