Talk about strange.
In 2003, Judith Hatfield, a New Jerseyan, filed a class action against Halifax PLC and HBOS PLC. She said they cheated her out of money from the sale of the Halifax Building Society. Ms. Hatfield belonged to HBS and alleged that she and others ought to have gotten, but did not get, at least something.
Ready for the strange part? You'll have to wait.
Because now we learn that Ms. Hatfield's putative class action never got traction in New Jersey. The New Jersey state court dismissed it in 2004. The Appellate Division affirmed. No personal jurisdiction over the defendants, you see.
Blawgletter will now get to the strangeness. Right after:
In 2005, Ms. Hatfield, having moved to the Golden State, brought the same case again — this time in lovely Pasadena federal court. The judge there dismissed on the ground that the statute of limitations deadline had lapsed — by several years. The Events in Question happened in 1997.
The Ninth Circuit revived Ms. Hatfield's case under California's "tolling" doctrines. The panel first concluded that the English statute of limitations — six years — governed. It then held that Ms. Hatfield, as a (new) Californian, could invoke the tres liberal tolling rules of California and that the New Jersey case, while it pended, had a tolling effect. But only for California folks. Hatfield v. Halifax PLC, No. 07-55790 (9th Cir. May 8, 2009).
Did we mention the case was strange?