Juntikka v. Hernandez and Experian
Public Citizen represented Charles Juntikka, a lawyer prohibited by a court from sending a letter to former clients who were members of a nationwide class action. Juntikka sought to contact his former clients to inform them of his disagreement with a proposed settlement in the case, their right to opt out of the settlement, and his potential availability to represent them. The district court barred Juntikka from communicating his views on the settlement to class members. Representing Juntikka on appeal, Public Citizen argued that the prohibition violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which guarantees class members’ right to consult with independent counsel, and the First Amendment. After the district court approved the proposed class-action settlement, the appeal was consolidated with the appeals of some objectors to the settlement. The Ninth Circuit reversed approval of the class-action settlement, and then held that Juntikka’s appeal was therefore moot. It noted, however, that if the issue arose again, the district court should make sure that any restrictions on speech complied with the case law set forth in our brief.