Miriam Haskins at al. v. First American Title Insurance Company

A judge in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a motion for class certification filed by a group of homeowners against First American Title Insurance Company. The plaintiffs had alleged that the defendant denied them reduced title insurance premiums to which they were entitled in connection with the refinancing of their mortgages.

A team from Analysis Group, led by Managing Principal Bruce Strombom and Vice President Peter Simon, was retained by Dentons on behalf of the defendant to address issues related to class certification. Dr. Strombom filed expert reports and testified at the hearing on class certification, opining about deficiencies in the plaintiffs' method of identifying members of the proposed class and calculating damages on a classwide basis. For a sample of transactions, the plaintiffs' proposed methods were shown to result in erroneous conclusions more than 90 percent of the time. Broadly citing Dr. Strombom's analysis, the court found that the class failed because "[p]laintiffs' faulty assumptions extend to the contents of their expert reports and their proposed method for ascertaining class members."

In addition to failing to meet the ascertainability requirement, the court found that the class also failed under the commonality and predominance requirements. Among other factors, the court observed "[a]s demonstrated by the clear and cogent analysis provided by the reports and testimony of Dr. Strombom, [plaintiffs' expert] incorrectly assumed that the transactions identified … as a 'refinance' necessarily qualified for the refinance rate."

Judge Renée Marie Bumb denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification.


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