United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ASHLEIGH FRANKLE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
BEST BUY STORES, L.P., Defendant.
Barbara Quinn Smith, MADDOX HARGETT & CARUSO, PC, 9853 Johnnycake Ridge Road, Suite 302, Mentor, OH 44060; T. John Kirk, Thomas K. Caldwell, and Thomas A. Hargett, MADDOX HARGETT & CARUSO, PC, 10100 Lantern Road, Suite 150, Fishers, IN 46037; Corey D. Holzer, Marshall P. Dees, Michael I. Fistel, Jr., and William W. Stone, HOLZER, HOLZER & FISTEL, LLC, 200 Ashford Center North, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA 30338; Paul J. Geller, Cullin A. O'Brien, and Stuart A. Davidson, ROBBINS GELLER RUDMAN & DOWD, LLP, 120 East Palmetto Park Road, Suite 500, Boca Raton, FL 33432; David P. Meyer and Matthew R. Wilson, DAVID P. MEYER & ASSOCIATES CO., LPA, 1320 Dublin Road, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43215; and Garrett D. Blanchfield, Jr., REINHARDT WENDORF & BLANCHFIELD, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E-1250, St. Paul, MN 55101, for plaintiff.
Elliot S. Kaplan, Anne M. Lockner, Brent L. Reichert, Jennifer M. Robbins, and Ochen D. Kaylan, ROBINS KAPLAN LLP, 800 LaSalle Avenue, Suite 2800, Minneapolis, MN 55402, for defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT
JOHN R. TUNHEIM, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on a motion to enforce settlement and injunction by Best Buy Stores, L.P. ("Best Buy"). On November 9, 2010, the Court entered an Order and Final Judgment approving the parties' proposed settlement in this class action, which dismissed with prejudice all remaining claims in the class action against Best Buy. This Court retained jurisdiction over all matters related to the Frankle class action. Best Buy has now moved to enforce that Order against Kenneth Jackson, a Frankle Class member, and his subrogee State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm"), in the action Jackson filed against Best Buy in Louisiana state court. Because Jackson is a Class member who received notice of the settlement barring him - and consequently, State Farm as his subrogee - from relitigating these claims against Best Buy, the Court will grant Best Buy's motion and order State Farm to dismiss with prejudice its claims against Best Buy in the Louisiana action.
I. CLASS ACTION PROCEEDINGS
On October 14, 2008, Ashleigh Frankle filed a complaint, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, against Best Buy for failure to install clothes dryers with a heavy metal vent. (Compl., Oct. 14, 2008, Docket No. 1.) Frankle alleged that if the dryers were improperly installed, such as with a foil vent, they posed a serious fire risk to customers. ( Id. ¶¶ 34-36.) She further alleged that Best Buy sold and then installed (or arranged for the installation of) such dryers with metal foil transition ducts or vents. ( Id. ¶¶ 7-13, 16.) Following a final fairness hearing, the Court entered an Order granting final class certification and approval of the parties' proposed settlement. (Order Granting Final Approval of the Proposed Settlement, Final Certification of the Settlement Class, and Approval of Attys' Fees and Expenses ("Order Granting Final Approval"), Nov. 9, 2010, Docket No. 127.)
In the Order granting final settlement approval, the Court certified the following Class:
All persons who purchased a clothes dryer from Best Buy from October 14, 2002 to January 12, 2009, who entered into a contract with Best Buy to install or arrange for the installation of the dryer, and whose dryer was installed with a metal foil transition duct/vent and not at the direction of the Class member.
( Id. at 2.) In the same Order, the Court approved the form and content of the settlement notice and claim form. ( Id. at 3-5.) Additionally, the Court entered final judgment dismissing with prejudice all claims alleged in the Class Action Complaint. ( Id. at 8.) In doing so, the Court "specifically refer[red] to and invoke[d] the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution and the doctrine of comity and request[ed] that any court in any other jurisdiction reviewing, construing, or applying [the] Judgment implement and enforce its terms in their entirety." ( Id. ) Further, the Court "expressly retain[ed] jurisdiction over all matters relating to the adjudication of claims and the payment of Valid Claims as provided... by this Order, as well as all other matters relating to the administration and consummation of the Settlement." ( Id. at 8-9.)
The notice was mailed to all Class members, including Kenneth Jackson, in 2010. (Decl. of Theresa Collins ("Collins Decl.") ¶ 2, June 4, 2014, Docket No. 136.) Jackson was sent a follow-up reminder one month after the initial notice was sent. ( Id. ¶ 3.) He did not submit a claim form or opt-out notice. ( Id. ¶ 4.)
II. KENNETH JACKSON'S LOUISIANA STATE COURT ACTION
Kenneth Jackson is a resident of Prairieville, Louisiana. ( Id. ¶¶ 1-2; Decl. of Ochen D. Kaylan ("Kaylan Decl."), Ex. 1 ¶ 2, June 4, 2014, Docket No. 135.) On February 1, 2012, Kenneth Jackson and his wife Nickeshia filed a complaint against Best Buy in the 19th Judicial District Court in the Parish of East Baton Rouge in Louisiana. (Kaylan Decl., Ex. 1.) In his complaint, Jackson alleges that he is entitled to damages for a fire that occurred due to a clothes dryer installed with a foil transition duct. ( Id. ¶¶ 3-5, 8-10, 13-17.) He states that he purchased the clothes dryer from Best Buy on August 25, 2007. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Jackson also acknowledges in the complaint that Best Buy was subject to the Frankle class action for precisely the same type of injury that he suffered. ( Id. )
State Farm petitioned to intervene (Kaylan Decl., Ex. 2), and Jackson subsequently voluntarily dismissed his claims. (Kaylan Decl., Ex. 3.) Best Buy now seeks dismissal of State Farm's ...