Montgomery v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., 051616 FED6, 15-1283
|Opinion Judge:||COOK, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||Pamella Montgomery, on behalf of herself and for the benefit of all with the common or general interest, any persons injured, and all others similarily situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Kraft Foods Global, Inc., a Delaware Corporation; Starbucks Corporation, a Washington Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.|
|Attorney:||Timothy H. McCarthy, Jr., Okemos, Michigan, for Appellant. Aaron M. Panner, KELLOGG, HUBER, HANSEN, TODD, EVANS & FIGEL, Washington, D.C., for Appellees. Timothy H. McCarthy, Jr., Okemos, Michigan, for Appellant. Aaron M. Panner, Caitlin Hall, KELLOGG, HUBER, HANSEN, TODD, EVANS & FIGEL, Washingt...|
|Judge Panel:||Before: BOGGS, SUTTON, and COOK, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||May 16, 2016|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
Argued: October 14, 2015
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids. No. 1:12-cv-00149-Gordon J. Quist, District Judge.
Plaintiff Pamella Montgomery bought a Tassimo, a single-cup coffee brewer manufactured by Kraft Foods, expecting it to brew Starbucks coffee. After the purchase, however, she struggled to find Starbucks T-Discs-single-cup coffee pods compatible with the brewer. In fact, the Starbucks T-Disc supply eventually disappeared as Kraft's business relationship with Starbucks soured. Disappointed with her purchase, Montgomery sued Kraft and Starbucks (Defendants) on behalf of a class for violations of various Michigan laws. After dismissing several claims and denying class certification on the rest, the district court entered judgment in Montgomery's favor when she accepted Defendants' joint offer of judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. Montgomery now appeals the dismissal of her claims for breach of express and implied warranties, the denial of class certification on her consumer-protection claims, and the attorney's fees the district court awarded as part of the Rule 68 settlement. We AFFIRM the district court's dismissal of the warranty claims, DISMISS the class-certification appeal as moot, and AFFIRM the attorney's-fees award.
Montgomery purchased a Tassimo from her local grocery store that bore a sticker reading: "Featuring Starbucks® Coffee." But as Starbucks T-Discs became "increasingly difficult and [later] impossible to find, " she learned that Starbucks had announced its plan to terminate its distribution agreement with Kraft and that the two companies were embroiled in arbitration over the contract. See Kraft Foods Global, Inc. v. Starbucks Corp., 411 F.App'x 428 (2d Cir. 2011). In response, Montgomery sued both companies on behalf of a class for violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), innocent misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties, and breach of contract.
Defendants each moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, and the district court, having first found the innocent misrepresentation claim abandoned, granted the motions as to the claims for breach of express warranties, breach of implied warranty, and breach of contract, but denied the motion as to several MCPA claims. Montgomery then requested class certification on those remaining claims, which the district court denied. Seeking a resolution- encouraged by the district court-Defendants submitted a joint Rule 68 offer of judgment, agreeing to pay MCPA statutory damages of $250, Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.911(2), plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs to be determined by the court. Montgomery accepted the offer of judgment, and requested $174, 786.50 in attorney's fees plus $5, 183.56 in costs. Viewing that amount as unreasonable, the district court instead ordered Defendants to pay Montgomery $6, 767 in fees and costs. She appeals the dismissal of her warranty claims, the denial of class certification, and the attorney's-fees award.
A. Jurisdiction over the Warranty-Claim Appeal
We first respond to Defendants' position that Montgomery's agreement to settle her individual consumer-protection claims divests this court of jurisdiction to consider her challenge to the interlocutory dismissal of her warranty claims. But a confession of judgment by defendants on fewer than all claims moots only the claims resolved in the plaintiff's favor by the agreed judgment; other issues remaining in the case may be appealed. See Deposit Guar. Nat'l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 333 (1980); see also UAW v. Dana Corp., 697 F.2d 718, 721 (6th Cir. 1983) (en banc) ("[T]here are instances 'in which one issue in a case has become moot, but the case as a whole remains alive because other issues have not become moot.'" (quoting Univ. of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 394 (1981))).
We read the record as showing that Montgomery settled only her individual consumer-protection claims. Defendants' Rule 68 offer of judgment reads:
[Defendants] offer to allow judgment to be taken against them under Plaintiff's First Amended Class Action Complaint and in favor of:
Plaintiff in the amount of $250.00, inclusive of...
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