Beveridge & Diamond Secures Dismissal of Class Action Allegations in South Carolina Federal Court

On  July 17, the U.S. District Court in South Carolina dismissed a putative class action against firm client Waste Connections, Inc. and two of its U.S. subsidiaries on the grounds that the class claims were barred by a standalone class action waiver in the parties’ commercial contract. Two Dogs, Inc. v. Waste Connections Inc., No. 6:19-cv-02660-DCC (D.S.C.) The Plaintiff alleged that Waste Connections had breached a commercial waste disposal contract by assessing certain fees improperly and sought a nationwide class.  The Court enforced a class action waiver in the contract and dismissed the class allegations under Rule 12, and then – without any remaining allegations of diversity or a federal question – dismissed the entire case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

The outcome highlights the importance of class action waiver language that allows the waiver to stand apart, if necessary, from arbitration provisions in the same contract. Such standalone class action waivers have become increasingly common in commercial contracts, but case law like the decision here interpreting them is still rare.

Eric Klein of Beveridge & Diamond’s Boston office led the firm’s representation and argued the successful motion. With Eric on brief were Jimmy Slaughter and Jessalee Landfried of the firm’s DC office and Chris Strunk of B&D’s San Francisco office.