Radha Geismann v. ZocDoc

In this case, the district court granted the defendant’s request to deposit funds with the court under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 67 in an amount that the court determined exceeded the amount the named plaintiff could individually recover in statutory damages. The district court indicated that it believed that this deposit, along with an expression of consent by the defendant to have an injunction entered, would render the named plaintiff’s individual claims moot. At the same time, the court permitted the defendant to file a motion for summary judgment in favor of the named plaintiff in the amount of the deposited funds. After the defendant deposited the money, the district court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment in the named plaintiff’s favor and dismissed all claims asserted on behalf of the class.

On appeal to the Second Circuit, Public Citizen filed an amicus brief supporting the named plaintiff.  Our brief explained that the defendant’s deposit and consent to an injunction did not deprive the court of the ability to grant effectual relief and therefore did not moot the named plaintiff’s individual claims. The brief also explained that the district court erred in entering judgment on the named plaintiff’s individual claims, over its objection, without first considering class certification.

The Second Circuit vacated and remanded.  The court agreed with us that the deposit of funds did not moot the named plaintiff’s individual claims.  Moreover, the court explained that a district court may not enter judgment on a plaintiff’s claim over the plaintiff’s objection unless the defendant surrenders to the complete relief sought by the plaintiff and that, in a class action, relief only to the individual plaintiff is not complete relief. Accordingly, the court concluded that the district court must consider class certification before entering judgment.