Sixth Circuit to consider whether pre-certification offer of complete relief to plaintiff requires dismissal of case

Later this week, the Sixth Circuit will hear argument in Hrivnak v. NCO Portfolio Management, Inc. At issue in the June 8th oral argument is a question of first impression in the Sixth Circuit: whether a defendant’s pre-certification offer of complete relief to a plaintiff who purports to bring a class action operates to moot the plaintiff’s complaint and strip the plaintiff of Article III standing.

The subject of when and under what circumstances a pre-certification offer of full settlement or offer of judgment can moot a class representative’s personal claim — and thus the representative’s class claim — has been the subject of much recent litigation.  Two circuits have held that a class representative lacks Article III standing where his claims were satisfied before a ruling on class certification. However, four circuits have taken the opposite view: that an offer of full satisfaction to a class representative does not moot the class aspect of the case because any subsequent certification would “relate back” to the filing of the complaint. Thus, a plaintiff may move to certify a class and avoid mootness even after he has received an offer of complete relief. 

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