Ohio Supreme Court to Address No-Injury Class Certification Under the Consumer Sales Practices Act

On February 19, 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio, in a 4-3 ruling, accepted the discretionary appeal in Felix v. Ganley Chevrolet, Inc. on two propositions of  law: 1) a class action cannot be maintained on behalf of a putative class that includes individuals who did not sustain actual harm or damage as a result of the challenged conduct, which is a required part of the rigorous analysis under Ohio R. Civ. P. 23; and 2) in a class action brought under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, R.C. 1345.09(B) requires the consumers to have sustained actual damages as a result of the challenged conduct.

In Ganley, the trial court certified a class that included any person who purchased a car from a group of auto dealerships if their contract included an arbitration clause that the court previously found invalid. The trial court then awarded each class member $200 in “discretionary damages,” even though the legislature explicitly limited class actions to actual damages, and it included in the class those who never had a dispute with the dealer. The Eighth District affirmed the trial court.

Bricker & Eckler represented the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA), which submitted an amicus memorandum in support of jurisdiction for both propositions of law that the court accepted.

Ohio Class Action Law