United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
AMRISH RAJAGOPALAN, MARIE JOHNSON-PEREDO, ROBERT HEWSON, DONTE CHEEKS, DEBORAH HORTON, RICHARD PIERCE, ERMA SUE CLYATT, ROBERT JOYCE, AMY JOYCE, ARTHUR FULLER, DAWN MEADE, WAHAB EKUNSUMI, KAREN HEA, and ALEX CASIANO, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
MERACORD, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING FOR PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT, MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS, AND MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Alex Casiano, Donte Cheeks, Erma Sue Clyatt, Wahab Ekunsumi, Arthur Fuller, Karen Hea, Robert Hewson, Deborah Horton, Marie Johnson-Peredo, Amy Joyce, Robert Joyce, Dawn Meade, Richard Pierce, and Amrish Rajagopalan's ("Plaintiffs") motion for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 253), motion to certify class (Dkt. 257), and motion for default judgment (Dkt. 279). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motions for the reasons stated herein.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On July 24, 2012, Plaintiffs Marie Johnson-Peredo, Dinah Canada, and Robert Hewson filed a class action complaint against Defendant Meracord, LLC ("Meracord") and its CEO, Linda Remsberg. Dkt. 1.
On March 6, 2012, the Court denied Defendants' motion to compel arbitration and held, in relevant part, that out of state plaintiffs may enforce Washington consumer protection statutes against Washington corporations. Rajagopalan v. NoteWorld, LLC, No. C11-5574, 2012 WL 727075, at *5 (W.D. Wash. Mar. 6, 2012), aff'd, 718 F.3d 844 (9th Cir. 2013) ("Washington State has a strong interest in enforcing its laws against its businesses, lest the state become a harbor for businesses engaging in unscrupulous practices out of state.'" (quoting Schnall v. AT & T Wireless, Servs., Inc., 171 Wn.2d 260, 287 (2011) (Sanders, J., dissenting))).
On March 2, 2015, after an appeal and a consolidation, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against Meracord. Dkt. 251. In relevant part, Plaintiffs now seek to certify a class of "[a]ll persons in a Surety State who established an account with Meracord LLC" during defined "Bond Periods." Id. ¶¶ 182-83.
On March 10, 2015, Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for partial summary judgment and unopposed motion for class certification. Dkts. 253, 257. On April 6, 2015, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed Count IX of their complaint. Dkt. 275. On April 16, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a motion for default judgment. Dkt. 279.
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
The facts are not disputed and are sufficiently set forth in Plaintiffs' motions. Therefore, there is no need to repeat the facts in this order.
A. Class Certification
An individual who hopes to litigate a claim as a representative of a class must satisfy the four requirements of Rule 23(a): numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation. Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1426, 1432 (2013). Numerosity is satisfied where "the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(1). Commonality is satisfied when "there are questions of law or fact common to the class." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(2). Under the typicality element, Plaintiffs must prove that "the action is based on conduct which is not unique to the named plaintiffs, and whether other class members have been injured by the same course of conduct." Ellis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 657 F.3d 970, 984 (9th Cir. 2011). Adequacy is satisfied when "the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(4).
In this case, Plaintiffs have shown that the proposed class satisfies the four requirements of Rule 23(a). The nationwide class is sufficiently numerous. The questions of law and fact are common because the class members entered into similar business relationships to reduce their debt. Plaintiffs have shown that the violations of Washington consumer protection laws are typical of class members. Finally, Plaintiffs have shown that the representative plaintiffs adequately represent the class.
Plaintiffs must also show that the class may be maintained pursuant to Rule 23(b). Plaintiffs argue that "[t]he class action device is far superior to, and more manageable than, any other procedure available for the resolution of Plaintiffs' claims." Dkt. 257 at 29. The Court agrees. ...