“The Inverted Federalism of Grider v. Compaq”

As good an argument for the Class Action Fairness Act as any: Trial lawyers sued Compaq in Texas over an allegedly defective disk controller, though none of the plaintiffs had ever suffered a malfunction or a loss of data, alleging a violation of Texas consumer fraud law on behalf of a nationwide class.  No dice: the Texas Supreme Court threw out the case, noting that Texas law did not permit the sort of nationwide class action contemplated by the plaintiffs.  End of story?  Nope: the same trial lawyers filed the same complaint again, this time in Oklahoma state court, and asked the Oklahoma state court to apply Texas law to a nationwide class.  “Sure thing!” the court rubber-stamped–applying an ersatz version of Texas law rejected by Texas courts.  The forum-shopping was able to extract $40 million in attorneys’ fees from a questionable coupon settlement, as an Overlawyered post noted August 6.  The Summer 2008 issue of State Court Docket Watch includes my essay discussing why this is a constitutionally problematic set of decisions by Oklahoma courts–written before, though published after, the Anthony Caso analysis for WLF.