Honda Drives Ninth Circuit to Reject Certification of Nationwide Consumer Class

13 January 2012
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Key takeaways:

  • Resolving a split among district judges in California, the Ninth Circuit holds that a company's decision to headquarter itself in California does not mean that California's consumer protection law can be applied to all of that company's nationwide transactions. Instead, courts must apply the laws of each purchaser's home state.
  • The court reached this decision by finding that a state's conscious decision to provide fewer consumer protections, and thus to make the state more business-friendly, is as important as a state's decision to provide greater consumer protections.
  • The court also held that where an allegedly misleading advertisement is not widely disseminated, only those who actually saw and relied upon the ad have a claim under California law, and the issue of this individual reliance precludes even single-state class certification.