Berger v. Home Depot

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 02-03-2014
  • Case #: 11-55592
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gould for the Court; Circuit Judge Rawlinson; District Judge Lemelle
  • Full Text Opinion

Absent a settlement, a stipulated dismissal does not destroy adversity sufficient to bar appellate jurisdiction.

Benjamin Berger appealed the “stipulated dismissal with prejudice of his putative class-action claims against Home Depot.” Berger alleged that Home Depot automatically charged a ten percent damage waiver on tool rentals in California, constituting a violation of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL") and the California Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"). The district court denied class certification because "the proposed classes that Berger is capable of representing d[id] not meet the requirement that common questions predominate over individual issues under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)." The Ninth Circuit held that it did have jurisdiction over the case because absent settlement, the adversity of stipulated dismissal is retained. The panel also held that there was no abuse of discretion in denying class certification because there were no common questions shared by Berger’s primary class that predominated over the individual questions of contract interpretation of the subclasses. The panel further held that the determination of Berger's claims rested on individualized "determination[s] about the language of the contract[s] signed by the customer, the placement and content of any signs, and the oral representations from Home Depot employees relating to the damage waiver." These individual issues predominated over the common questions in the claims. AFFIRMED.

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