In the grand scheme of civil litigation, there aren't that many class actions as a percentage of lawsuits filed (probably around one half of one percent of unlimited civil filings in California, for example; see post). Rarer still are the nationwide class actions. And rarest of all, the nationwide class action that goes to trial. Believed by some to be extinct, a recent sighting in the wild confirms that it still exists, at least in theory.
On March 26, after 11 weeks of testimony from the class, Judge George Hernandez of the California Superior Court in Fremont, California, in a nonjury trial, ruled that plaintiffs failed to prove their case. (Pamela A. MacLean, Amex Wins Rare National Class Action Trial Over Allegations of Overcharging (March 31, 2009) www.law.com and www.nlj.com.) The suit alleged that Amex charged a fee for airline travel purchased on its charge card and would sweep in inappropriate insurance charges for flights consumers later canceled, seat upgrades and baggage fees.
Not surprisingly, plaintiffs' counsel indicated that an appeal is on the way.