Rex Heinke Quoted by Law360 on Major Calif. Supreme Court and 9th Circuit Decisions in 2014

In its article “The Biggest California Cases Of 2014: Midyear Report,” Law360 discussed a number of the major California Supreme Court and 9th Circuit decisions from the first half of 2014, including Duran v. U.S. Bank and Obsidian Finance v. Crystal Cox.

According to the article, in the class action suit Duran v. U.S. Bank, the California Supreme Court, invoking the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2011 holding in Wal-Mart v. Dukes concerning Trial by Formula and affirmative defenses, affirmed a decision in favor of U.S. Bank to decertify a 260-person class and dismiss a $15 million trial court win. Akin Gump Supreme Court and appellate practice co-head Rex Heinke noted that this decision will likely impact future class action suits: “The decision is likely to make it tougher to certify class actions. Trial courts have been instructed to look at the entire case and how it is tried as a practical matter. It’s not enough to decide to try the liability issues as a class if a court can’t also decide the affirmative defense issues on a classwide basis.”

In Obsidian Finance v. Crystal Cox, the publication noted that the 9th Circuit, in partially reversing a lower court decision, afforded blogger Crystal Cox First Amendment protections comparable to those of traditional media. Heinke said, “Blogging has become quite a big deal as more people engage in it as a source of information. The ruling allows not just bloggers but anybody posting comments on the Internet to get First Amendment protection even if they are not part of the institutional press.”