Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Collins v. Village of Palatine, Illinois

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 16, 2017

Michael Collins, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Village of Palatine, Illinois, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued February 7, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 16 C 3814 - Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.

          Before Bauer, Posner, [*] and Sykes, Circuit Judges.

          Sykes, Circuit Judge.

         When a plaintiff files a complaint on behalf of a proposed class, the statute of limitations for the claim is tolled for each member of the class. Am. Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538, 550 (1974). The tolling continues until the case is "stripped of its character as a class action." United Airlines, Inc. v. McDonald, 432 U.S. 385, 393 (1977) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 advisory committee's note to 1966 amendment). This "stripping" occurs immediately when a district judge denies class certification, dismisses the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction without deciding the class-certification question, or otherwise dismisses the case without prejudice. The question before us is whether a dismissal with prejudice also strips a case of its class-action character. The district court concluded that it does. We agree and adopt a simple and uniform rule: Tolling stops immediately when a class-action suit is dismissed-with or without prejudice-before the class is certified.

         I. Background

         On a summer day in June 2007, a police officer in the Village of Palatine issued a parking ticket to Michael Collins. When Collins returned to his car later that day, he found the bright yellow ticket under his car's windshield wiper blades. The ticket listed personal information about him, including his name, address, driver's license number, date of birth, sex, height, and weight. Collins claims that the display of his personal information violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721 et. seq. So on March 29, 2016, he sued the Village of Palatine on behalf of himself and a proposed class.

         Ordinarily the long delay in filing suit-almost nine years-would be fatal to his claim; the DPPA's statute of limitations is four years. But the timeliness of Collins's claim is complicated by the earlier filing of a nearly identical class complaint against Palatine.

         Jason Senne faced a similar ticketing scenario. He left his car illegally parked overnight, and a Palatine police officer placed a parking ticket displaying his personal information on the car's windshield. On August 27, 2010, Senne sued on behalf of himself and all similarly situated individuals alleging that Palatine violated the DPPA. Because the lawsuit was brought as a class action, the filing of the complaint tolled the DPPA's statute of limitations for everyone in the proposed class.

         Senne's case had a short life in the district court. On September 22, 2010, before Senne filed a motion to certify a class, the district court granted Palatine's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. A panel of this court affirmed the dismissal, but the full court reheard the case and reversed. See Senne v. Village of Palatine, 695 F.3d 597, 599-600 (7th Cir. 2012) (en banc).

         On remand Senne moved to certify a class. The district judge heard argument on the motion but deferred ruling, instead inviting Palatine to file a motion for summary judgment. Palatine complied. The judge entered summary judgment for the Village and "terminated" the motion for class certification as moot. See Senne v. Village of Palatine, 6 F.Supp.3d 786, 797 (N.D. 111. 2013). We affirmed, Senne v. Village of Palatine, 784 F.3d 444 (7th Cir. 2015), and on November 2, 2015, the Supreme Court denied certiorari, 136 S.Ct. 419 (2015).

         On the day the Supreme Court denied certiorari, Senne's attorney, Martin Murphy, filed a successor class action on behalf of himself and a proposed class. His complaint was just a placeholder to preserve the class's claims. Murphy later filed this suit naming Collins as the class representa- tive; he then sought voluntary dismissal of his own complaint.

         Palatine moved to dismiss, arguing that Collins's claim was time-barred because the statute of limitations resumed when the district court dismissed Senne's lawsuit. Collins responded (through Murphy, his counsel) that the dismissal on timeliness grounds was inappropriate at the pleadings stage, and even if procedurally proper, the suit was timely because the limitations period was tolled until the Supreme Court denied Senne's petition for certiorari. He also separately moved to certify a class.

         The judge agreed with Palatine that Collins's claim was time-barred and granted the motion to dismiss. The judge summarily denied the motion for class certification, apparently on mootness ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.