Wilkes v. Quicken Loans, Inc.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER as the grounds for class certification never existed, I DECERTIFY the class action. Signed by Judge Joseph R. Goodwin on 6/4/2014. (cc: attys; any unrepresented party) (taq)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:12-cv-01353
QUICKEN LOANS, INC.,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On May 21, 2014, I certified Ms. Kingery’s proposed class action under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 23(b)(3). (See Mem. Op. & Order [Docket 261]). After a closer examination of the
evidence in preparation for summary judgment, it is clear the class does not meet the requirements
of Rule 23. Accordingly, I DECERTIFY the class.
Even after the court has certified a class, it “is duty bound to monitor its class decision and,
where certification proves improvident, to decertify, subclassify, alter, or otherwise amend its
class certification.” Chisolm v. TranSouth Fin. Corp., 194 F.R.D. 538, 544 (E.D. Va. 2000). The
court “remains free to modify [its order] in the light of subsequent developments in the litigation.”
Gen. Tel. Co. of Sw. v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 160 (1982). “If there is a subsequent showing that the
grounds for granting certification no longer exist or never existed,” the court may decertify the
class. Bentley v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., 223 F.R.D. 471, 477 (S.D. Ohio 2004) (citing Falcon, 457
U.S. at 160). The court may decertify the class sua sponte. See Chisholm, 194 F.R.D. at 567;
William B. Rubenstein, Newberg on Class Actions § 7:37 (5th ed. 2012) (“So important is a
court’s oversight that the court need not await a party’s motion but can revisit certification on its
own initiative.”). In determining whether to decertify a class, I must apply the same legal standard
applied at initial certification. See Brooks v. GAF Materials Corp., No. 8:11-CV-00983-JMC,
2012 WL 5195982, at *2 (D.S.C. Oct. 19, 2012) (collecting cases).
A basic requirement of Rule 23 is that “a named class representative must be a member of
the class at the time the class is certified.” Bennett v. Westfall, 640 F. Supp. 169, 170 (S.D. W. Va.
1986) (Haden, J.). In addition, Rule 23 requires that the representative’s claim be typical of the
class. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 (a)(3). “Typicality requires that the claims of the named class
representatives be typical of those of the class; ‘a class representative must be part of the class and
possess the same interest and suffer the same injury as the class members.’” Lienhart v. Dryvit
Sys., Inc., 255 F.3d 138, 146 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Falcon, 457 U.S. at 156). The
representative’s claim “cannot be so different from the claims of absent class members that their
claims will not be advanced by plaintiff’s proof of [her] own individual claim.” Deiter v. Microsoft
Corp., 436 F.3d 461, 466 (4th Cir. 2006). Although I cannot decide the named plaintiff’s claims on
the merits, I can probe behind the pleadings to determine whether the plaintiff has satisfied the
Rule 23 requirements. See, e.g., Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426, 1433 (2013)
(concluding that district court could entertain arguments concerning the plaintiff’s ability to prove
damages on a classwide basis even though that inquiry was also “pertinent to the merits
In my prior order, I certified the following class:
All natural persons residing in the United States who were the subject of at least
one consumer credit score obtained and used by Quicken between May 1, 2010
through May 1, 2012 in connection with its evaluation of an application initiated
or sought by such natural person for a consumer mortgage loan secured by 1 to 4
units of residential property, whose request for credit was coded by Quicken
with an AMP code of “100” and not an AMP code of “10,” and to whom the
credit score disclosure notice was not provided to that person within 21 days
after Quicken obtained the credit score.
(Mem. Op. & Order [Docket 261], at 6-7) (emphasis added).
A clear requirement of class membership is “use.” See id. Thus, although the question of
whether Ms. Kingery’s score was used overlaps with the merits of the case, it is also a prerequisite
to being a member of the class. After further scrutiny of the evidence, it is clear that Ms. Kingery
has not presented any evidence that her score was used, and she was not a member of the class she
seeks to represent. If Ms. Kingery is not even a member of the class, her claims cannot be typical
and she cannot be an adequate representative of the class. See Linehart, 255 F.3d at 147.
Accordingly, as the grounds for class certification never existed, I DECERTIFY the class
action. This ruling does not suggest that a plaintiff cannot bring a class action arising under 15
U.S.C. § 1681g(g) if the plaintiff can meet the requirements of Rule 23. However, in this case, Ms.
Kingery has failed to establish that her claim is typical of the class and that she is an adequate
representative of the class.
The court DIRECTS the Clerk to send a copy of this Order to counsel of record and any
June 4, 2014
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?