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Tanasi v. New Alliance Bank

This case was brought by Patrick Tanasi on behalf of himself and other similarly situated people, alleging claims against New Alliance Bank and its successor-in-interest based on New Alliance’s reordering of debit transactions to maximize overdraft fees. Before Tanasi could move for class certification, New Alliance made him an offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 that offered him more than he could recover on his individual claim, but did not offer any relief to the rest of the class. Tanasi did not accept the offer. New Alliance moved to dismiss, arguing that the unaccepted offer rendered the case moot. The district court disagreed. The court stated that New Alliance’s offer would have mooted Tanasi’s claim in an individual action, but held that a pre-certification offer of judgment to the named plaintiff does not moot a putative class action. The district court certified for interlocutory appeal the question “if, in keeping with Defendants’ pre-certification Rule 68 offer of judgment, which afforded the named Plaintiff complete relief on his individual claims in this putative class action, this Court were to enter judgment in the named Plaintiff’s favor, would the entire Rule 23 putative class action be rendered moot?” We filed an amicus brief on appeal, explaining that the premise of the question was faulty because an unaccepted Rule 68 offer does not moot a claim or otherwise authorize the court to enter judgment over the plaintiff’s wishes.

In May 2015, the Second Circuit held that, as we had argued in our amicus brief, an unaccepted offer alone does not render a plaintiff’s individual claims moot.