Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Juridical Link Doctrine as Basis for Standing in Class Actions — Circuit Split

Reyes v. Julia Place Condominiums Homeowners Ass’n, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15356 (E.D. La. Feb. 5, 2013):

Plaintiff asserts that the Juridical Link Doctrine gives her standing to bring claims on behalf of the class against defendants from whom she has not sustained a direct injury.... The doctrine is premised on the idea that the class, not the class representative, is the legal entity for the purposes of Article III standing. Tex. Med. Providers Performing Abortion Servs. v. Lakey, 806 F. Supp. 2d 942, 953-54 (W.D. Tex. 2011). There is a Circuit split on whether the Juridical Link Doctrine gives a class representative standing to bring claims against defendants that did not cause her actual injury, and the Fifth Circuit has not made its own determination. In Mahon v. Ticor Title Insurance Co., the Second Circuit held that the doctrine did not apply because the defendant's alleged unlawful conducts must have caused injury to the plaintiff herself in order for there to be Article III standing. 683 F.3d 59, 62. However, in La Mar v. H & B Novelty & Loan Co., the Ninth Circuit held that the Juridical Link Doctrine applies to allow a group of plaintiffs-named and unnamed-to have standing to bring a claim against defendants when they have suffered an identical injury that is related by conspiracy, concerted scheme or otherwise "juridically related in a manner that suggests a single resolution of the dispute would be expeditious." 489 F.2d 461, 466 (1973). See also Moore v. Comfed Sav. Bank, 908 F.2d 834, 838-839 (11th Cir. 1990) (adopting Juridical Link Doctrine when all the transactions arose from a common source and all involved the same question of law and fact); Payton, 308 F.3d at 679 (upholding the Juridical Link Doctrine in the Seventh Circuit); Fallick v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co, 162 F.3d 410, 423-24 (6th Cir. 1998) (adopting the Juridical Link Doctrine for Article III standing because all defendants committed the conduct being challenged).

The Fifth Circuit has only addressed the Juridical Link Doctrine in Audler where it found that it was inapplicable for the reason stated above, but did not strike it down, or affirm it. 519 F.3d at 248. This Court, as other district courts have, finds that the Juridical Link Doctrine may be applicable after Rule 23 certification. Lakey, 806 F. Supp. 2d at 953-54; Mayo v. Hartford Life Ins. Co., 214 F.R.D. 465, 2002 U.S. dist. LEXIS 15990 (S.D. Tex. 2002). Ms. Reyes has alleged that the defendant condominium associations have engaged in a scheme or otherwise conspired with Steeg and Glass to set their respective Condominium Declarations to charge usurious interest upon its members in violation of the Louisiana Condominium Act and Louisiana usury laws and for Steeg and Glass to send form collection letters on behalf of Rotunda and the other named condominium associations which violate the FDCPA, LUTPA and Louisiana usury laws. Rec. doc. 127, p. 17. The factual allegations must be taken as true in this 12(b)(1) motion, and the Juridical Link Doctrine is applicable to the alleged scheme or conspiracy.

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