3d DCA Watch — Dreams Unwind, Love’s A State of Mind Edition

Hey, who knew Judge Sotomayor is such a fan of the Jews?

I’m kvelling!Well I’m excited. Yes, today is the day the resplendent ones dispense their coffee-swilled signed, sealed, and entered goodies, where PCAs ring out from the hermetically sealed concrete bunker to the south like a bell through the night, like a bird in flight, like a cat in the dark, like a fine skylark.

Question — would you stay if Judge Salter promised you heaven?

And your honor, if I may, just one brief followup — will you ever win?

Oh hail, let’s get ready to be taken by the sky —

Altamonte Springs Imaging v. State Farm:

Oh oh — a 3d DCA class cert opinion!(Don’t worry, though, Judge Salter wrote it.)Geez, some intervenor killjoy from Orlando wants to rain on Alan Rolnick’s parade. Challenging the settlement of a class action dealing with how State Farm computes the amounts due medical providers for MRI services under section 627.736(5)(b)5. You putz!Here’s what Judge S had to say about that, and that’s about all he has to say:

It is difficult to imagine a group of claims better suited for class adjudication. The claims are brought by a particular group under a particular statute, and the judicial economy obtained in a class action resolving thousands of such claims is obvious. An economic analysis regarding the efficiency of thousands of county court cases involving single claims averaging $100 and transactional costs (legal fees alone, and putting aside the costs incurred by the State’s judicial branch) of ten to a hundred times that, does not require extended number-crunching.

Don’t be so sure — what if Judge Shepherd was on the panel?Here’s what the Judge wrote about ASI’s objection to certification:

The putative class members’ claims were concededly numerous. They arose from a common statutory provision and were asserted by a single type of medical service provider (MRI providers) against a single PIP insurer. Open MRI’s claim was a typical claim asserted by a putative class member. Open MRI showed that it could fairly and adequately represent the class,5 and that its counsel were experienced and capable. Under Rule 1.220(a), its federal counterpart, and too many state and federal cases to warrant further citations, Open MRI and State Farm established that the class action lawsuit was a textbook case for certification.

Not rocket science, people.And here’s what the Judge did with the objection to Alan’s fee request:

Importantly, the payments to Open MRI as class representative ($10,000) and to the attorneys for the plaintiffs ($485,000) were paid by State Farm and not from the sums recoverable by class members. While the trial court and this court must review the fees for reasonableness, it is highly significant that the class members bear no part of that particular burden. An adversary, State Farm, has made its own preliminary assessment of reasonableness.

The trial court correctly found that a payment of $10,000 to Open MRI as representative plaintiff was reasonable. The position as fiduciary for the class is less an honor than a headache. The representative plaintiff is identified as a class litigant in public records (potentially affecting credit reports and disclosures for financing), is subject to fiduciary duties to the class, may be deposed and required to produce records, and must meet with counsel and appear in court, for example.

$485k seems pretty modest to me anyway (less, for example, than it costs to acquire the various tools and other implements necessary to properly groom Bart’s impressive ‘stache).

If you want more Alan, and I mean hard-core, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners Alan, take a stroll down memory lane as the shaggy one relives his glorious Woodstock days.

And look for me in the above clip — I’ve got the guitar, Jew-fro (hey, it was popular then!), and for no apparent reason I also happen to be wearing a kimono.