Jeff Hale, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated; Raymond Gray, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated; Andrew Bowers; Emilio Gonzales; Kenneth Thompson, on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated; Eric Shults; Justin Swires, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; Estaban Maravilla, individually and on behalf of all others; Lauren Checki; Kevin Brees; Chad Venhaus; Chris Willis; Fred Wilmer Plaintiffs - Appellees
Emerson Electric Company Defendant-Appellant Sears Holdings Corporation; Sears, Roebuck and Company; The Home Depot, Inc. Defendants
Submitted: April 17, 2019
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri - St. Louis
SMITH, Chief Judge, KELLY and KOBES, Circuit Judges.
Electric Company appeals from an order certifying a
nationwide class of plaintiffs in a case involving allegedly
deceptive advertising practices. The district court ruled
that all class members' claims would be governed by
Missouri law and therefore determined class resolution was
appropriate. We reverse and remand for further consideration.
suit arises out of allegedly deceptive advertising associated
with RIDGID brand vacuums. Emerson, a Missouri corporation,
manufactures, markets, and sells RIDGID vacuums. It makes all
marketing decisions regarding the vacuums in Missouri.
Emerson markets the vacuums by emphasizing their "peak
horsepower"-the maximum potential output of the
vacuums' motors. Emerson acknowledges that the vacuums
can only achieve "peak horsepower" in a laboratory.
A consumer using a standard wall outlet would achieve less
horsepower than advertised.
allege advertising based on peak horsepower is misleading and
bring claims for violations of the Missouri Merchandising
Practices Act (MMPA), Mo. Rev. Stat.§ 407.010, et
seq., breach of express warranty, breach of implied
warranty, unjust enrichment, violations of other states'
consumer protection laws, and redhibition (on behalf of a
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned this case
to the district court as a consolidated action and the
district court oversaw discovery. At the close of discovery,
Plaintiffs sought to certify a nationwide class. The district
court applied Missouri choice of law rules and determined
that all claims should be governed by Missouri law. It then
certified the class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
23(a) and 23(b)(3). We have jurisdiction over Emerson's
interlocutory appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1292; Fed.R.Civ.P.
review a district court's grant of class certification
for abuse of discretion but review rulings on issues of law
de novo. In re St. Jude Medical, Inc., 425 F.3d
1116, 1119 (8th Cir. 2005). To certify a class, a district
court must find that the plaintiffs satisfy all the
requirements of Rule 23(a) and one of the subsections of Rule
23(b). Id. (citing Amchem Prods., Inc. v.
Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 614 (1997)). The district court
certified the class based on Rule 23(b)(3), which requires
finding that "questions of law or fact common to class
members predominate over any questions affecting only
individual members, and that a class action is superior to
other available methods for fairly and efficiently
adjudicating the controversy." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3).
"[V]ariations in state law may swamp any common
issues" and defeat class certification under Rule
23(b)(3). See Castano v. Am. Tobacco Co., 84 F.3d
734, 741 (5th Cir. 1996).
argues that the district court erred twice. First, the claims
of non-Missouri residents do not relate to "trade or
commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri" and the
MMPA cannot be applied to them. Second, the district court
should have conducted separate choice of law analyses for the
breach of warranty and unjust enrichment claims. We
MMPA provides a private right of action for "any
deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise,
misrepresentation, [or] unfair practice . . . in connection
with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or
commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri." Mo.
Stat. §§ 407.020.1; 407.025.1. Where a party seeks
to certify a nationwide class under the MMPA, we can resolve
the case based on that statute's scope. See Perras v.
H & R Block, 789 F.3d 914, 917 (8th Cir. 2015).
explained that although the MMPA covers every kind of unfair
practice, a plaintiff's claim nevertheless must involve
commerce "in or from the state of Missouri."
See Perras, 789 F.3d at 917-18; Ports Petroleum
Co. of Ohio v. Nixon, 37 S.W.3d 237, 240 (Mo. banc
2001); State ex rel. Nixon v. Estes, 108 S.W.3d 795,
801 (Mo.Ct.App. 2003). In Perras we held that a
putative class action against H & R Block for an
allegedly fraudulent "compliance fee"-designed and