This blog previously reported on the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1427 (2013). See “The United States Supreme Court Takes Another Look at Class Actions” (posted March 28, 2013). That decision required lower courts to take a hard look at class certifications, and particularly at the issue of whether or not damages could be proven on a class-wide basis. The Eleventh Circuit relied upon that decision to order a district court to reconsider the certification of class in Williams v. Multimedia Games, Inc., Case No. 13-12733 (decided April 2, 2014).

The Williams case was a putative class brought against the manufacturers, owners and operators of electronic bingo machines that were operated at a venue in Alabama. The class members claimed that the operation of machines constituted illegal gambling activity and that they were entitled to recover back monies that they lost while playing the machines. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the certification of a class and ordered the district court to reconsider. The class members sought to recover their losses on individual games. The Eleventh Circuit, applying Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, said that the district court needed to take a harder look at whether such losses could be proven on a class-wide basis.  Opinion, pp. 13-17.

Cases like Williams demonstrate that federal courts will be taking a harder look at class actions in light of recent Supreme Court decisions such as Comcast Corp. v. Behrend.

The opinion in Williams v. Multimedia Games, Inc. is available at

http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/unpub/ops/201312733.pdf