Splits Among Circuit Courts On Both Issues—Ninth Circuit Decision Accepted For Review.
On May 18, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, No. 14-857, a Ninth Circuit decision formerly published at 768 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2014). Two issues involving the impact of FRCP 68 offers of complete relief to plaintiffs are presented for review: do such offers moot an individual plaintiff’s claims and do such offers moot a named plaintiff’s class action claims if made before class certification?
The majority view on the individual plaintiff issue is that the offer of complete relief does moot the claims, a position taken by the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits. The minority approach to the contrary is taken by the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, while the Second Circuit takes an intermediate approach by saying a default judgment should be entered against the defendant offeror.
Looks like the majority approach on the named class action plaintiff issue swings the other way, with the Third, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits holding that the offer of relief does not moot the class action claims under the “relation back” doctrine, while Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits accept that mootness occurs as long as the offer is made before class certification.