COSTA MESA, Calif., July 25, 2014 – Karen Walter, partner, and Alisha Patterson, associate, with Rutan & Tucker, LLP, California’s largest full-service law firm based in Orange County, recently achieved a victory in a class action lawsuit for its client City of Laguna Beach.
The City of Laguna Beach was sued in a federal court class action alleging willful violations of provisions of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act.
The lawsuit relates to certain City-owned public parking lots at which credit card-accepting pay stations are installed and operated. The pay stations dispensed parking permits for display on the dashboard of the parked vehicle. It is alleged that the parking permits at some but not all of the City lots printed out, among other information, the credit card’s expiration date. No actual damage (such as identity theft) occurred, but successful plaintiffs are able to get statutory damages of $100 to $1,000 for each violation, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.
The class was described as including persons who purchased parking permits with credit cards between June 4, 2008 and August of 2011, and was estimated to exceed 100,000 persons, most with multiple claimed violations. The plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which the City actively opposed. Extensive discovery and briefing took place. After hearing oral argument and taking the matter under submission for several weeks, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney issued an extensive order denying the class certification motion. The plaintiffs appealed.
The matter was fully briefed and the Ninth Circuit conducted oral argument on May 16, 2014. On July 25, the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished opinion affirming the district court’s order, concluding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the proposed class was not ascertainable.
“This is a tremendous victory for the City, which was exposed to tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars were the class to have been certified,” said Phil Kohn, the City Attorney for Laguna Beach.
About Rutan & Tucker LLP
Rutan & Tucker is California’s largest full-service law firm headquartered in Orange County, California with offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. Primary practice areas include corporate and securities law, business and real estate litigation, labor and employment law, intellectual property, real estate, government and regulatory law, land use law, bankruptcy, condemnation and property valuation, environmental law, and taxation and estate planning. Detailed information about the firm is available at www.rutan.com.