As we move forward, many LuLaRoe consultants have asked us how to join in the class action, how class actions work generally, and what procedures are coming up. To keep everyone informed, we are adding this section to our website.
What Exactly is a Class Action?
A class action is a specific kind of case in which a small group of people (or even just one person) vindicates the rights of a much larger group. Courts allow class actions when a common problem affects many people, and it is not practical to litigate each case on its own.
In order to have the full effect of a class action, a case must be “certified” by the court. When a court certifies a class, it typically makes a number of findings, including that the dispute is appropriate for a class action, that the named plaintiffs in the case are appropriate to represent the interests of the group, and that the lawyers bringing the case are capable of handling the scale of work involved in a class action.
Class certification is an important issue in class action litigation. Winning the motion to certify the class is critical to vindicating the rights of all the LuLaRoe consultants because once we win it, the Court will use the case to decide whether all the people affected by LuLaRoe’s alleged pyramid scheme will be reimbursed.
In the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, where this case is filed, Local Rule 23-3 requires us to file a motion to certify within 90 days of when the lawsuit is served (actually given to) the defendant (LuLaRoe). Some judges have standing orders that postpones that deadline. Ours does not. For that reason, the case is “full steam ahead” to prepare for class certification.
What Do LuLaRoe Consultants Need to Do to Join the Class Action?
Short Answer: We are now signing up individual clients. (Sign up here.) Signing up as an individual client allows us to protect your specific interests, prepares for the possibility that the case may be sent to arbitration, and allows us to communicate in private. However, it is not strictly necessary for you to retain us to benefit from a class action, as discussed below.
Long Answer: This class action (Berry v LuLaRoe) seeks to vindicate the rights of everyone who acted as a consultant (or in a similar role) with LuLaRoe on or after October 23, 2013, regardless of whether (s)he is active or has resigned. If you are in this group, the law refers to you as a “class member.” We are already trying to get you your money back because we are fighting for the rights of all class members. If the case is certified as a class action in its current form, then you will be covered.
If the case is not certified, then affected LLR consultants will need to pursue individual litigation. We are signing up class members just in case that happens. In addition, by signing up with us as clients, we are able to have private communications protected by attorney-client privilege.
Do You Need Anything From Me?
It is important to know that we need the help of the LuLaRoe consultant community now, and as the case goes forward. As you may have already seen in the media or online, LuLaRoe claims that the Complaint is misinformed, and asserts that the class action lawsuit is predatory. We will likely see this kind of language continue. It will be important for the court to see that the problems we complain about really are the problems of the class members. We do that by having you, as the class, provide us with the true information relevant to the case.
Take for instance, Meagan Parker’s October 29, 2017 appearance on ABC News. She represented LuLaRoe’s voice, and was reported to be an “independent retailer.” She told ABC’s Good Morning America, “I have been successful because I never ever stopped setting goals for myself.” (GMA story here.) I wonder if she explained to GMA just how high up she is in the LuLaRoe network, or how much of her success came from money paid by consultants for inventory versus commissions on actual sales to customers.
We understand Ms. Parker’s actual role as a mentor because a class member told us so (and we were able to verify that via Ms. Parker’s social media). That kind of insight is important – especially in the days to come when the media moves on to other stories, but we continue to fight for the class members in court. LuLaRoe’s lawyers will make all kinds of claims – just like Ms. Parker did. On TV this back and forth is, to some degree, just “trash talk.” In court, it affects your rights and our ability to recover for you. We are counting on all of you to make sure the record is set straight.
If you have not already done so, please fill out our contact form or sign up as a client so we can keep you up to date, and share your story with us. At critical junctures, we are likely to email copies of motions sent by the defense to people who signed up on this website, whether as a witness or a client. (Client communications will be more specific.) We will be asking you to help us fact-check the motions, and sign sworn-statements with the true facts that may contradict what the Defendants claim. So far, several hundred current and past LuLaRoe reps (of various levels) have signed up. The more people who sign up, the better we will all do.
What Happens Next?
Currently, we are testing our own initial Complaint against new information sent in by class members and cooperating with other attorneys who filed litigation against LuLaRoe. Although we conducted an investigation prior to filing the suit, we think it is important to take into account everything that has been shared with us by the hundreds of additional people who have recently contacted our practice. We are finding that our Complaint is correct, but that there is far more detail available to support the allegations.
Once we are satisfied with the Complaint, we will serve it on the Defendants. Right now, the only defendants are the companies that make up LuLaRoe.
After we serve the Complaint, the Defendants will have some 30 days to respond. They may ask for some extra time. If they do, it is customary to provide a reasonable time, and the court will expect us to abide by the custom.
It is very common for Defendants to respond to a Complaint with a Motion to Dismiss. Such motions typically allege that the Complaint needs more detail or that the Defendants are for some reason not subject to the law on which the Complaint is based. If the court grants a Motion to Dismiss, it typically gives one or two chances to amend the Complaint to the judge’s satisfaction. This process often play out in the 45-60 days after service of the Complaint.
Within 90 days of the service of the Complaint, we intend to file the Motion to Certify the case as a class action. The court may set a different deadline, and either side may ask for extra time. Once the Motion to Certify is granted, we move forward, and every class member is bound by the result of the case, unless (s)he has opted out of the class action in writing. (The court will set an opt out procedure that will plan to post at this website, among other places.)
As this process unfolds, we will have one or more scheduling conferences with the court and with defense counsel. At around the time of the first such scheduling conference, the parties will exchange the information they intend to use to resolve the case. Afterwards, as the process moves forward each side will ask each other written questions under oath, will ask for documents, will take sworn testimony, and will exchange opinions of expert witnesses. This is referred to as discovery.
As we approach trial, the Defendants are likely to file a Motion for Summary Judgment. This type of motion asks the court to dismiss the case or some part of it based on the notion that the facts that both sides admit are true show that the Defendants are not legally responsible for the class member’s injuries.
After the Motion for Summary Judgment is denied, we go to trial.
The class action may settle at any point. The court may also change the schedule above, including by changing deadlines and the order in which things occur. Other law firms may file related or overlapping class actions, in which case the court will likely have us coordinate for the benefit of efficiency.
When Will You Hear From Us?
Please sign up at our contact page or sign up as a client so that you are on our email list. We will be updating class members as the case unfolds. At times there will be many updates and requests for information. There may also be time where we are not in touch because we are waiting for some process to unfold before moving forward. You are also welcome to email me (Josh Watson) or our office. It may take me a few days to get back to you at times, but I will.
Thanks for reviewing this site. We hope to be of further assistance as we complete the case.