July 28, 2020 Top Story

Tender of Damages Can Moot Class Action Claim

Court must dismiss if tender paid and liability admitted before certification

By Josephine M. Bahn

A court must dismiss a putative class action lawsuit if the defendant makes an effective tender before the named plaintiff files a class certification motion, a state supreme court held. A defendant’s admission of liability and tender to the plaintiff of all the requested relief satisfies the named plaintiff’s individual claim but moots the plaintiff’s interest in the litigation. Thus, no controversy exists and the trial court must dismiss the case if no other plaintiff represents the class. In its ruling, the court distinguished a tender from an offer of judgment made under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68.

Two tenants sued their former landlord for failure to pay security interest earned on the tenants' security deposit

Two tenants sued their former landlord for failure to pay security interest earned on the tenants' security deposit

Credit: jaturonoofer | iStockphoto by Getty Images

Court Denies Plaintiff Remains Harmed, Dismisses Claim

In Joiner v. SVM Management, LLC, two former tenants filed a lawsuit against their former landlord for failure to pay security interest on the tenants’ security deposit. The landlord returned the tenants the full security deposit, but the tenants alleged that the landlord violated several state laws by, inter alia, its failure to pay any of the security interest on the deposit. The day after the landlord was served with the complaint, it tendered a cashier’s check for the full amount of the tenants’ maximum individual recovery, and all court costs and attorney fees. The tenants rejected the tender.

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