A federal judge in New York has denied class action certification in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case because the named plaintiff is not an adequate representative of the proposed class because he turned down an offer to pay the damages in full.
The case, Franco v. Allied Interstate, has been working its way through the court system since 2013 and has twice appeared before the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The most recent ruling from the Appeals Court was back in April, when it ruled that a Supreme Court precedent holds that an unaccepted offer does not moot a claim even if a judgment has been entered in favor of the plaintiff at the defendant’s request.
A copy of the most recent ruling in the case can be accessed by clicking here.
This most recent ruling marks the third time that the District Court has ruled in favor of the defendant in the case. In the previous two rulings, the plaintiff appealed to the Second Circuit and both times, the Appeals Court overturned the lower court ruling and revived the suit.
This ruling is expected to be appealed to the Second Circuit as well, according to a published report.
In her ruling, Judge Katherine Forrest questioned the motivations for continuing the case when the named plaintiff continues to receive an offer to settle the case for $1 more than the statutory limit for this type of violation.
“Absent a factual record from plaintiff setting forth his rationale and expected conduct in light of past behavior, the Court is left with the distinct possibilities that: (1) this litigation is entirely lawyer-driven; and/or (2) that while the claims plaintiff has asserted would be satisfied by monetary relief, this particular plaintiff does not plan on agreeing to a monetary settlement,” Judge Forrest wrote. “First, if plaintiff is willing to forgo recovery on his own behalf, there is no telling how many potential class members he is willing to prejudice for the ‘greater good.’ Assuming for the moment that there are 1,000 potential class members, would plaintiff (and his counsel) accept an offer that makes 750 of those class members whole? How about 500? And what if the proposed offer made all class members whole, but did not provide for attorneys’ fees and costs?”