Edward Huyer; Connie Huyer; Carlos Castro; Hazel P. Navas Plaintiffs - AppelleesWells Fargo & Company; Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Defendants-Appellees
Rhadiante Van de Voorde Movant - Appellant
Submitted: January 10, 2017
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Des Moines
SMITH, GRUENDER, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
GRUENDER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Rhadiante Van de Voorde appeals the district
court's order approving a class action settlement
that requires one subgroup of class members to submit proofs
of claim before receiving payment. Because Van de Voorde is
not a member of this subgroup and suffers no injury from this
requirement, we dismiss the appeal for lack of standing.
2008, plaintiffs filed this class action against Wells Fargo
& Co. and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells
Fargo"). The plaintiffs' claims related to Wells
Fargo's practice of automatically ordering and charging
fees for property inspections when customers fell behind on
their mortgage payments. In 2015, the parties participated in
mediation and reached a settlement agreement.
settlement agreement provides that Wells Fargo will pay $25,
750, 000 in full settlement of all class claims. The
agreement divides the class members into three subgroups: (1)
members with active loans ("active"); (2) members
whose loans are paid in full ("paid-in-full"); (3)
members whose loans ended in a foreclosure sale, short sale,
deed in lieu of foreclosure, or charge-off
("post-sale"). Active and paid-in-full class
members automatically will receive a cash award from the
settlement fund without having to submit a claim. In
contrast, post-sale class members must submit a proof of
claim in order to obtain a cash award. All class members were
allowed to opt-out of the lawsuit.
district court preliminarily approved the settlement
agreement, and more than 2.7 million notices were sent to
class members. Van de Voorde filed a written objection to the
agreement. She argued that the named plaintiffs did not
adequately represent the class because none of them belonged
to the post-sale subgroup and that the resulting agreement
was unfair to post-sale class members because they must
submit proofs of claim in order to receive an award. To prove
that she was a class member, Van de Voorde attached a copy of
the class notice she received. The class notice indicates
that Van de Voorde is an active or paid-in-full class
holding a fairness hearing, the district court entered an
order granting final class certification and final approval
of the settlement. The court addressed Van de Voorde's
objection by explaining that "there are valid reasons
for requiring post-sale class members to provide actual proof
of their claim." Huyer v. Wells Fargo &
Co., 314 F.R.D. 621, 627 (S.D. Iowa 2016). The court
further noted that the named class representatives adequately
represented the class because "the class representatives
seek the same type of recovery as the rest of the class
members, they are represented by qualified counsel and . . .
[they] reached a favorable settlement." Id. at
625. Although Van de Voorde did not formally move to
intervene in the case, she now appeals this order and
reasserts her previous objection.
Fargo argues that Van de Voorde lacks standing to appeal
because, as an active or paid-in-full member, she is not
aggrieved by the aspects of the settlement that she is
challenging. "If a litigant lacks Article III standing
to bring his claim, then we have no subject matter
jurisdiction over the suit." Iowa League of Cities
v. EPA., 711 F.3d 844, 869 (8th Cir. 2013). "The
standing Article III requires must be met by persons seeking
appellate review, just as it must be met by persons appearing
in courts of first instance." Arizonans for Official
English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 64 (1997).
Voorde argues that she has standing to appeal the final
approval of the class action settlement as a result of the
Supreme Court's decision in Devlin v.
Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1 (2002). Van de Voorde
misunderstands Devlin. In Devlin, the Court
stated that "class members [must] be allowed to appeal
the approval of a settlement when they have objected at the
fairness hearing." Id. at 10. Van de Voorde
apparently interprets this statement to mean that any class
member who objected at the fairness hearing automatically
obtains Article III standing to appeal the settlement.
However, the Court expressly noted that the issue in
Devlin did "not implicate the jurisdiction of
the courts under Article III of the Constitution."
Id. at 6. Instead, Devlin addressed only
the issue of whether an unnamed class member who did not
formally intervene in the action "should be considered a
'party' for the purposes of appealing the approval of
the settlement, " in light of the general rule that
"only parties to a lawsuit, or those that properly
become parties, may appeal an adverse judgment."
Id. at 7 (quotation omitted). Thus, Devlin
does not stand for the proposition that the act of objecting
to approval of a settlement automatically confers Article III
standing upon an unnamed class member. Rather, it held only
that failing to intervene in a class action does not by
itself prevent an unnamed class member from appealing the
settlement. Id. at 14.
regardless of Devlin, Van de Voorde still must show
that she satisfies the standing requirements of Article III.
See Delorme v. United States, 354 F.3d 810, 815 (8th
Cir. 2004) ("A party invoking federal jurisdiction must
establish that he has met the requirements of both
constitutional and prudential standing." (citation
omitted)). "To show standing under Article III of the
U.S. Constitution, a plaintiff must demonstrate (1) injury in
fact, (2) a causal connection between that injury and the
challenged conduct, and (3) the likelihood that a favorable
decision by the court will redress the alleged injury."
Iowa League of Cities, 711 F.3d at 869 (quotation
omitted). An "injury in fact" is "an invasion
of a legally ...