In a ruling yesterday in Felix v. Ganley Chevrolet, Inc., No. 2013-1746, 2015 WL 5039233 (Aug. 27, 2015), the Ohio Supreme Court held that a class action cannot be certified where the plaintiff cannot demonstrate, through common evidence, that all putative class members incurred damages resulting from the defendant’s alleged conduct. For claims under Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practice Act (OCSPA), this requires demonstrating that all class members suffered actual damages.

The lawsuit involved allegations that the defendant, a car dealership, violated the OCSPA by requiring purchasers of vehicles to agree to an unenforceable arbitration provision. Plaintiffs alleged they incurred actual damages following a dispute with the defendant. Plaintiffs sought unspecified “monetary damages … where appropriate” for the class, but did not seek actual damages for class members. The trial court certified the proposed class under Ohio’s Civil Rule 23(B)(2) and (B)(3) (which are substantially similar to FRCP Rules 23(B)(2)( and (B)(3)), and awarded $200 per transaction to each class member based, not on any actual damages, but rather on the trial court’s “discretion.”
Continue Reading Ohio Supreme Court Rules Class Cannot be Certified Without Actual Damages Under Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practice Act