Plaintiff ?filed ?a ?class ?claim? for ?unpaid wages and failure to provide rest breaks. ?He also filed an individual termination claim. ?The parties settled? both the? individual? and? the? class? claims. The settlement included a $20,000 payment for being ?class ?rep.?? ?The ?district ?court ?refused? to certify the class for settlement purposes, which did not invalidate the individual settlement.? ?The plaintiff dismissed his individual claims and then appealed the denial of certification. ?The defendant argued the resolution of the class rep.?s claims mooted the appeal.? ?The Ninth Circuit disagreed. It held that the class rep. still maintains a personal stake in the action unless the settlement with the individual specifically releases such a stake. ?Here the individual settlement agreement only released the class rep.?s employment claims and did not include a release of a claim for attorneys? fees. The majority found the plaintiff?s interest in the $20,000 payment to be of some significance but it is not clear whether that was necessary to its holding.
On the merits, the court held the district court had abused its discretion in denying class certification without any analysis.?? The majority sent the case to a different judge on remand.?? In dissent, Judge Rymer held that the class rep.?s voluntary settlement of his substantive individual and ?class ?claims ?deprived ?him? of ?any ?personal stake in the action.? ?Judge Rymer would have required the settlement agreement reserve the right to appeal the denial of certification. ?Narouz v. Charter Communications, 591 F.3d 1261 (9th ?Cir. 2010) (M. Smith, E. Korman (E.D.N.Y.), Rymer)