Here is the opinion in Williams v. Martorello.
This class-action proceeding relates to a lending scheme allegedly designed to circumvent state usury laws. Matt Martorello appeals from three district court rulings that (1) reconsidered prior factual findings based on a new finding that Martorello made misrepresentations that substantially impacted the litigation, (2) found that the plaintiffs- appellees—Virginia citizens who took out loans (the “Borrowers”)—did not waive their right to participate in a class-action suit against him, and (3) granted class certification.
In particular, Martorello argues that the district court violated the mandate rule by making factual findings related to the misrepresentations that contradicted this Court’s holding in the prior appeal and then relying on those factual findings when granting class certification. He also contends that the Borrowers entered into enforceable loan agreements with lending entities in which they waived their right to bring class claims against him. In addition, he asserts that common issues do not predominate so as to permit class treatment in this case.
As explained below, we disagree with Martorello. We conclude that the district court did not violate the mandate rule and that the Borrowers did not waive the right to pursue the resolution of their dispute against him in a class-action proceeding. Finally, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting class certification because common issues predominate. Accordingly, we affirm the rulings of the district court.
Lower court materials here.