New Jersey District Court Rejects Argument That State Law Prohibits Class Certification In Federal Court

Goodrich Management Corp. v. AFGO Mechanical Services, Inc., Civ. Nos. 09-43 (WJM), 11-2769 (WJM) (D.N.J. Dec. 14, 2012) Pending before the court were motions to deny class certification in two separate cases. Defendants argued that: (1) Federal courts must enforce state law restrictions on bringing TCPA claims; (2) Under New Jersey law, private TCPA class actions are prohibited; and (3) Because New Jersey law applies to Plaintiffs' class claims, denial of class certification was appropriate as a matter of law. Plaintiffs opposed the motions, arguing that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, rather than state law, governs class certification determinations of private TCPA actions brought in federal court. The court initially noted that "[f]or purposes of this Opinion, it is sufficient to note that the Supreme Court's recent holdings in Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 130 S.Ct. 1431 (2010) and Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, 132 S.Ct. 740 (2012) have resulted in a flurry of recent case law discussing the extent to which the 'if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a state' language of the TCPA [ ] requires a federal courts to follow state law, including in the context of TCPA class actions brought in federal court." Quoting extensively from the court's holding in Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. Peterson's Nelet, LLC, the court rejected Defendants' argument, finding that "it is not required to -- nor should it -- forgo the class certification requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 by instead applying New Jersey class action law to Plaintiffs' TCPA class claims brought in federal court. Accordingly, the relief sought by Defendants seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's class claims as a matter of law -- which is predicated on this Court first determining that it should apply a state law which purportedly bars class certification of private TCPA actions -- will be DENIED."

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