Cases & Deals

H&R Block prevails as 8th Circuit upholds denial of class certification

Clients H&R Block, Inc.

On June 18, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the denial of plaintiff's motion for class certification in an important ruling that implicates the choice of law used in class actions. In Perras v. H&R Block, Inc., No. 12-00450-CV-W-BP (W.D. Mo.), the plaintiff sought certification of a 49 state class under Missouri law based on allegations concerning H&R Block's response to the Return Preparer Initiative of the IRS. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri had denied class certification on constitutional grounds.

In the opinion, the Eighth Circuit rejected plaintiff's arguments that Missouri law should apply to all class members' claim and instead ruled that every part of the transactions giving rise to the class claims occurred in states other than Missouri. The Court explained that, accordingly, the law applicable to each class member's claims would be the consumer-protection statute of the 49 different states and therefore predominance under Rule 23(b)(3) was not present.

Jones Day has represented H&R Block in this matter for several years and the June 18 decision follows a string of significant achievements for H&R Block, including rulings on the enforceability of H&R Block's arbitration agreement, the denial of class certification, and now, the scope and reach of state consumer protection statutes.

Perras v. H&R Block, Inc., No. 12-00450-CV-W-BP (W.D. Mo.); No. 14-2892 (8th Cir.)