Washington Supreme Court: No nationwide class for ATT Plaintiffs
The question before the Court was whether Washington State is a proper place for a nationwide class of Plaintiffs. Essentially, ATT passed on a governmental charge as a "Universal Connectivity Charge" to its customers. The customers, understandably, were upset, as this was never disclosed as a charge, nor was the reason for the charge really ever explained (I speak from personal experience here).
The trial court denied class cert, finding that individual questions predominated. Division I reversed and certified the nationwide class.
The Washington Supreme Court, in striking down a nationwide class, upheld the choice of law provisions in the contract. Thus, each individual state's residents would have a separate set of law, making it difficult to administer a nationwide class. Hence, the only class that can still be had is Washington residents. Additionally, the Washington CPA claim is a bit tied to using Washington Law.
The Court made a big deal of the extra burden imposed by a nationwide class. Of course that burden is based on their choice of law finding. If the Court had found that the choice of law provision was one of adhesion (like their similar view of arbitration clauses), the extra burden to Washington Courts would have been minimal.
Finally, as the dissent states: "Not every state contract law is materially different for purposes here, and the trial court abused its discretion by failing to consider whether the laws of the states could be grouped together in a manageable number of subclasses."