Does a class action judgment that released "any and all claims" against a defendant bar all class members' claims in a separate class action against that defendant?
The Ninth Circuit today held that enforcing such a release would violate the class members' due process rights. The first class case involved claims that Sprint improperly charged telephone customers federal regulatory fees. The second one alleged that Sprint shouldn't have passed through a Washington state tax. The panel pointed to the lack of adequate representation in the first case of the interests of class members with respect to state tax and the differing factual predicates of the federal and state charges. Hesse v. Sprint Corp., No. 08-35235 (9th Cir. Mar. 10, 2010).