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Mussat v. IQVIA, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

September 27, 2019, Argued; March 11, 2020, Decided

No. 19-1204

Opinion

 [*443]  Wood, Chief Judge. Florence Mussat, an Illinois physician doing business through a professional services corporation, received two unsolicited faxes from IQVIA, a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Pennsylvania. These faxes failed to include the opt-out notice required by federal statute. Mussat's corporation (to which we refer simply as Mussat) brought a putative class action in the Northern District of Illinois under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227, on behalf of itself and all persons in the country who had received similar junk faxes from IQVIA in the four previous years. IQVIA moved to strike the class definition, arguing that the district court did not have personal jurisdiction over the non-Illinois members of the proposed nationwide class.

The district court granted the motion to strike, reasoning that under the Supreme Court's decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, 137 S. Ct. 1773, 198 L. Ed. 2d 395 (2017), not just the named plaintiff, but also the unnamed members of the class, each had to show minimum contacts between the defendant and the forum state. Because IQVIA is not subject to general jurisdiction in Illinois, the district court turned to specific [**3]  jurisdiction. Applying those rules, see Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 283-86, 134 S. Ct. 1115, 188 L. Ed. 2d 12 (2014), it found that it had no jurisdiction over the claims of parties who, unlike Mussat, were harmed outside of Illinois. We granted Mussat's petition to appeal from that order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f). We now reaffirm the Rule 23(f) order, and we hold that the principles announced in Bristol-Myers do not apply to the case of a nationwide class action filed in federal court under a federal statute. We reverse the order of the district court and remand for further proceedings.

Before examining the personal-jurisdiction issue, we must assure ourselves that this appeal falls within the scope of Rule 23(f), which "permit[s] an appeal from an order granting or denying class-action certification under this rule." Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(f). IQVIA argues that the  [*444]  order before us neither grants nor denies class status and thus it is an ordinary interlocutory order that must await final judgment before review is possible. See 28 U.S.C. § 1291. It is true that the district court's order does not say, in so many words, that it is granting or denying class certification. But that is not the end of the story. Here is what the district court did: pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, it granted IQVIA's motion to strike Mussat's class definition, insofar as Mussat [**4]  proposed to assert claims on behalf of people with no contacts to Illinois. IQVIA observes that Mussat is still free to seek certification of an Illinois-only class. More fundamentally, it contends that the plain language of Rule 23(f) forecloses jurisdiction over this appeal because the order responded to a motion to strike, not a motion to certify (or decertify) a class. Because Rule 23(f) allows interlocutory appeals only from orders "under this rule," IQVIA concludes, an appeal is not permitted here, where the district court made its decision pursuant to Rule 12. We review this jurisdictional question de novo. Marshall v. Blake, 885 F.3d 1065, 1071 (7th Cir. 2018).

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953 F.3d 441 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 7560 **

FLORENCE MUSSAT, M.D., S.C., on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. IQVIA, INC., et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 17 C 8841 — Virginia M. Kendall, Judge.

In re Mussat, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 26924 (7th Cir. Ill., Jan. 25, 2019)Mussat v. IQVIA Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183549 (N.D. Ill., Oct. 26, 2018)

CORE TERMS

personal jurisdiction, district court, class action, nationwide class, federal court, class member, unnamed, absent class members, general jurisdiction, class certification, coordination, cases, certification, residents, contacts, parties

Civil Procedure, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Appellate Review, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Strike, Certification of Classes, Class Members, Named Members, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, Minimum Contacts, Due Process, Purposeful Availment, Absent Members, Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, Pleadings, Service of Process, Service of Summons, Waiver of Process & Service