Justia Kansas Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Class Action
Craig v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc.
Numerous class actions throughout the country were filed against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. by former and current delivery drivers for the company. Plaintiffs claimed they were improperly classified as independent contractors rather than as employees under both state and federal law. The class actions were consolidated, and the Kansas class action was designated as the lead case. A federal district court granted summary judgment for FedEx, determining that the Kansas class plaintiffs were independent contractors under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA). The district court relied on this decision to enter summary judgment for FedEx in all the other statewide class actions, concluding that Plaintiffs were independent contractors, rather than employees, under each respective state’s substantive law. Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit certified to the Kansas Supreme Court questions regarding the proper classification of the FedEx drivers under the KWPA. The Supreme Court answered that, under the undisputed facts presented, the plaintiff delivery drivers were employees of FedEx for purposes of the KWPA. View "Craig v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc." on Justia Law
State v. Jones
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. Defendant appealed, arguing (1) under Kansas' version of a stand-your-ground-law in effect at the time of the crime, he was immune from prosecution; and (2) he was deprived of a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions, holding (1) Defendant was not entitled to relief on his argument that he was immune from prosecution under the stand-your-ground statute because he made the argument for the first time on appeal, and the statute must be asserted before trial or opens or a dispositive plea is entered; and (2) the prosecutor made an incorrect statement of law about the jury's process during the rebuttal portion of closing argument, but this error was harmless. View "State v. Jones" on Justia Law
Coulter v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
Plaintiffs in this case were royalty owners entitled to receive a share of the production of natural gas in a gas field. Plaintiffs brought a class action against Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) and its affiliates challenging the manner in which APC was paying royalties on natural gas production under the respective oil and gas leases. Timothy Coulter represented the plaintiff class and negotiated a settlement agreement. More than 6,000 members made up the settlement class, one of whom was Stan Boles. Boles objected to the amended class certification and the class settlement agreement negotiated by Coulter. The district court approved the settlement despite Boles' objection. Boles appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the district court did not abuse its discretion in assessing the adequacy of the class representation or the character of the settlement agreement. View "Coulter v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp." on Justia Law
O’Brien v. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc.
Named plaintiff Sue O'Brien and a class of similarly situated consumers (O'Brien) sued the maker of Brighton handbags, other accessories, and luggage, defendant Leegin Creative Leather Products (Brighton), alleging violations of the Kansas Restraint of Trade Act. O'Brien contended that Brighton's practices as a wholesale supplier and retailer constituted illegal price-fixing, entitling her and other class members to recovery. The district judge granted Brighton's motion for summary judgment and motion for partial summary judgment in part. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding, inter alia, (1) the district judge erred in his demand for proof of a "concrete injury," which required reversal of summary judgment; (2) Brighton was not entitled to summary judgment under a "rule of reason," which is not applied in a price-fixing action brought under the relevant statutes; (3) the district judge erred in ruling that the claims of the plaintiff class did not involve horizontal price-fixing; and (4) the district judge correctly determined that a genuine issue of material fact remained for trial on the issue of whether there was an unlawful combination or arrangement between Brighton and its retailers who had no express agreements as Heart Stores or luggage sellers. View "O'Brien v. Leegin Creative Leather Prods., Inc." on Justia Law
State v. Roberts
Leslie Roberts pleaded no contest to one count of rape and was found guilty by the district court. Roberts' crimes subjected him to a life sentence with a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years in prison under Jessica's Law. The district court denied Roberts' motion for a departure and sentenced him to a life sentence with a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years in prison along with lifetime postrelease supervision. For the first time on appeal, Roberts argued that both aspects of his sentence violated his constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the cruel and unusual punishment claim was not preserved for appellate review; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the departure motion. View "State v. Roberts" on Justia Law
Critchfield Physical Therapy v. The Taranto Group, Inc.
The Taranto Group contracted with two outside vendors to send out advertising via facsimile transmissions on its behalf. It was later calculated that at least 5,000 transmissions were made in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). A doctor brought an action individually and as a class representative against the Taranto Group, seeking damages and injunction relief under the TCPA and tort damages for conversion. A professional corporation then sought to intervene as an additional class representative. The district court issued an order certifying the proposed class and, in an amended order, certified the order for interlocutory appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's determination that class certification was appropriate in this case, holding, among other things, that the district court (1) correctly found the plaintiffs met their burden of demonstrating that they met the statutory requirements for class certification, (2) properly determined that a class action in this case was superior to individual small claims actions, and (3) properly concluded that a class action would avoid inconsistent adjudications. View "Critchfield Physical Therapy v. The Taranto Group, Inc." on Justia Law