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Highlight Updates Named Plaintiff’s Standing to Sue Multiple Defendants

The mere fact that numerous companies or firms engaged in the same alleged violation as the company with which the plaintiff dealt does not give the plaintiff standing to sue the other companies or firms and name them as defendants. In LaMar v. H&B Novelty & Loan Co.,196 for example, the plaintiff had a claim for Truth in Lending violations against a pawnshop. He sought to sue not only the pawnshop where he borrowed money but all other pawnshops in the jurisdiction that engaged in the same alleged practices. The court held that the plaintiff could not represent customers of shops with which he himself had no dealings.197

In some circumstances, however, the so-called “juridical link” doctrine may provide a plaintiff with standing to pursue class claims against parties that did not cause the named plaintiff’s injury. The doctrine is narrow in scope and only applies if the plaintiff suffered identical injuries by parties related through a conspiracy or a concerted scheme, and suing all parties in one action would be expeditious.198 For example, in Moore v. Comfed Savings Bank,199 the plaintiff had gone to defendant A for a loan. Defendant A sold its loans to defendants X, Y, and Z. Plaintiff’s loan was sold to X. Plaintiff was nevertheless permitted to sue Y and Z on behalf of class members whose loans had been sold to Y and Z because the common origin of the loans provided a sufficient nexus. Similarly, a victim of an antitrust conspiracy who bought from defendant A is entitled to sue co-conspirators B through Z and to represent a class of persons including those who dealt with B through Z.200 Courts in securities cases will certify classes of persons who bought securities from any underwriter involved in the offering, even though the plaintiff only dealt with one underwriter.201 Common ownership or control among defendants has also been viewed as providing a sufficient “juridical link.”202 The named plaintiff may, however, lack standing to bring claims against joint venturers or alter egos on behalf of class members holding separate contracts with those entities.203


  • 196 {196} LaMar v. H&B Novelty & Loan Co., 489 F.2d 461, 465 (9th Cir. 1973) (holding that, even if plaintiffs had standing, class action was inappropriate as to defendants with whom plaintiffs had no dealings and no cause of action since plaintiffs could not fairly and adequately protect interests of those who did have such causes of action, the success or failure of plaintiffs in their individual actions would not inescapably alter rights of others similarly situated, and class action would not be superior in terms of fairness and efficiency to other means by which an adjudication of controversy could be obtained).

  • 197 {197} Accord Streich v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 399 N.W.2d 210 (Minn. Ct. App. 1987).

  • 198 {198} La Mar v. H & B Novelty & Loan Co., 489 F.2d 461, 466 (9th Cir. 1973) (recognizing “juridical link” doctrine).

  • 199 {199} Moore v. Comfed Sav. Bank, 908 F.2d 834, 839 (11th Cir. 1990). See also United Consumer Fin. Servs. Co. v. Carbo, 410 N.J. Super. 280 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2009) (when a number of door-to-door sellers of vacuum cleaners all used contracts and notices prepared by a single finance company, there were sufficient “juridical links” that a customer who purchased his vacuum from one of them could bring class claims against all of them for defects in the notice).

  • 200 {200} Brown v. Cameron-Brown Co., 92 F.R.D. 32, 39–40 (E.D. Va. 1981).

  • 201 {201} In re Comput. Memories Sec. Litig., 111 F.R.D. 675, 687–689 (N.D. Cal. 1986).

  • 202 {202} Barker v. FSC Sec. Corp., 133 F.R.D. 548 (W.D. Ark. 1989). See also Mitchell v. Residential Funding Corp., 334 S.W.3d 477, 490 (Mo. Ct. App. 2010) (in a case alleging that assignee mortgagees were liable for closing fees charged by assignor mortgagee, discussing “juridical link” without explicitly adopting or rejecting doctrine, but finding that “[p]ermitting the multi-defendant allegations here promotes judicial efficiency, due process, and is in accord with the purposes behind allowing class actions”). But see Mahon v. Ticor Title Ins. Co., 683 F.3d 59, 65–66 (2d Cir. 2012) (finding no juridical link to confer standing on named plaintiff who alleged title insurance company, from which plaintiff did not purchase insurance, illegally overcharged in refinancing deals; rejecting argument that Article III permits suits against defendants who did not cause injury so long as one of the defendants in the action harmed plaintiff); Easter v. Am. W. Fin., 381 F.3d 948, 962 (9th Cir. 2004) (finding no juridical link to confer standing on named plaintiffs suing assignees of second mortgages, who never held named plaintiffs’ loans, for charging usurious interest rates when there was no evidence of a conspiracy or a concerted scheme).

  • 203 {203} Lindquist v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Ariz., 2008 WL 343299 (D. Ariz. Feb. 6, 2008).