Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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Plaintiff purchased a Life Fund 5.1, L.L.C. Capital Appreciation Bond from a company that subsequently filed for bankruptcy. More than two years after purchase, plaintiff sued the defendants for misrepresentations and omissions in the sale of securities, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, ruling that the statute of limitations for each of the plaintiff's claims had run before she brought suit. Plaintiff appealed, and the Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. The question this case presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether the district court erred in granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment based on the expiration of the statutory limitations periods. As a threshold matter, the Court determined when plaintiff's claims accrued and whether the statute of limitations for each claim ran or was tolled from the accrual date based upon the discovery rule. After review, the Court held that defendants did not submit sufficient evidentiary material to support their arguments as to when the statute of limitations began to run on each claim. Therefore the Court reversed the grant of summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Horton v. Hamilton" on Justia Law

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Oklahoma resident Plaintiff-Appellant Samantha Guffey filed a lawsuit against Defendants Odil Ostonakulov and Motorcars of Nashville, Inc. (MNI), a resident of Tennessee and a Tennessee corporation, respectively, in the District Court of Oklahoma County. Guffey alleged fraud and violations of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act in connection with her purchase of a vehicle from Defendants using eBay. The trial court dismissed the action because it determined Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction over Defendants. Guffey appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that because Defendants possessed sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Oklahoma, the district court possessed in personam jurisdiction over Defendants. View "Guffey v. Ostonakulov" on Justia Law

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Fifty-four individuals and business entities sued Appellants-Defendants Tyson Foods, Inc., Tyson Poultry, Inc., and Russell Adams (collectively, Tyson), in association with contracts under which they were to raise chickens owned by Tyson on feed supplied by the company. Tyson moved to sever the claims for separate trials. The trial judge denied the motion, allowing the plaintiffs to select eleven individuals and entities to proceed to trial under theories of violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act and fraud. The poultry growers contended that Tyson targeted them for failure by delivering unhealthy birds and feed in retaliation for their refusal to modernize operations. The jury, in a nine to three split, awarded the growers compensatory and punitive damages approaching $10 million. Alleging evidentiary errors and juror misconduct, Tyson filed a motion for new trial. The trial judge recused and the new trial motion was heard by an assigned judge. Acknowledging concerns about the conduct of the trial, the substitute judge denied the motions for new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, staying further proceedings pending resolution of the appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that: 1) where attorneys were advised that voir dire would be limited to questions not covered in the juror questionnaire and jurors gave incomplete, untruthful, and/or misleading answers in those documents, Appellants were entitled to a new trial; and 2) a poultry grower having no title to the chickens or feed placed with the grower for fattening and future marketing of the birds by the flock's owner is not an "aggrieved consumer" for purposes of the Consumer Protection Act. The case was remanded for further proceedings. View "James v. Tyson Foods, Inc." on Justia Law