Dismissal Obtained in Putative Class Action

Chad W. Pekron and R. Ryan Younger obtained the dismissal of a putative class action brought by customers of a major retail chain in December 2015.  Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger defended the retailer and two of its district managers against claims that the company’s discount program violated the Arkansas Price Discrimination Act, which imposes a penalty of $200 to $1000 for every sale in violation of the statute.  Plaintiff filed the action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas.  Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger successfully removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act on the ground that the district managers were fraudulently joined to the complaint and could therefore be disregarded for purposes of diversity jurisdiction.  In so doing, Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger argued that the court could rely upon the affidavits of the district managers for purposes of establishing fraudulent joinder – an issue that is the subject of significant dispute.  Once the case remained in federal court, Mr. Pekron and Mr. Younger argued that the court should apply the “functional availability” doctrine of the Robinson-Patman Act to the Arkansas statute.  In a matter of first impression, the district court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.