Client Alerts

Ulmer & Berne Obtains Leading Decision in the Supreme Court of Ohio on Defending No-Injury Class Actions

By: David D. Yeagley

About: Class Actions

In a decision of nationwide importance, Ulmer & Berne lawyers recently obtained a decision of the Supreme Court of Ohio in the area of so-called “no injury” class actions. In Felix v. Ganley Chevrolet, Inc., Case Slip Op. No. 2015-Ohio-3430 (Aug. 27, 2015), the Supreme Court held that individuals purportedly included in class action lawsuits must be able to demonstrate, through common and class-wide evidence, that they in fact were injured by the allegedly wrongful conduct of the defendant. The Supreme Court thus reversed class certification, finding that a universe of customers whose purchase contracts contained a dispute resolution provision were not harmed or injured by the mere presence of the provision. The lengthy and well-reasoned decision of the Supreme Court is one of the leading decisions in the defense of “no injury” class actions.

Importantly, the Supreme Court’s decision Felix further strengthens the defense of Ohio businesses to no-injury class actions brought under Ohio’s consumer protection statute. The Court held in this regard that, in the case of class actions brought under the consumer protection statute, the individuals in the class also must have sustained “actual damages” as a result of the alleged wrongful conduct. As in the Felix case, injury-in-fact and actual damages often are not present in cases predicated on form documents or purported statutory violations where the alleged wrongdoing does not involve any monetary fee or charge.

Ulmer & Berne litigation partner David Yeagley had the lead role in devising and implementing the successful defense of the case, which included extensive briefing before the Supreme Court of Ohio. Mr. Yeagley has successfully defended several class action cases utilizing class certification defenses similar to the ones that were adopted in the Felix case. He has also authored several class action-related articles, including a recent article on defending no-injury class actions that was published in Law360 Class Actions.

For more information regarding the Supreme Court’s decision, the potential effect of the decision on class actions in Ohio and in other jurisdictions, or to further discuss the principles of law underlying the decision or the defense of class actions or consumer protection claims in general, please contact David Yeagley at (216) 583-7216 or dyeagley@ulmer.com.