Class Action Defense
While the defense of each and every lawsuit presents its own particular complications and burdens for the defendant, few would dispute that in today’s business climate class action lawsuits and other multi-claimant proceedings have become a special breed of lawsuit. These cases often present the greatest litigation risk to businesses and employers. Experts expect a continued increase in the number of class actions filed against businesses, the individuals who run businesses, and entire industries.
The Class Action Defense Practice Group at Lane Powell is well recognized as a leading force in the defense of class actions throughout the United States. In fact, our practice has been highly ranked in the U.S. News and Best Lawyers annual “Best Law Firms” survey for representing defendants in mass tort litigation and class action. We are among the few firms that have hands-on experience trying class actions before judges and juries to conclusion. We have defended more than 100 class action lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Our class action experience has allowed us to develop considerable expertise in all aspects of class action litigation and has involved a broad spectrum of subject matters, including:
- Alien Tort Claims Act
- Annuity sales and marketing practices
- Antitrust/trade regulation
- Automobile insurance
- Banking and mortgage lending practices
- Consumer protection
- Consumer credit and fair credit reporting
- Debt collection
- Employee benefits
- Employment discrimination
- Environmental/toxic tort
- Fiduciary duty/trust issues
- Health care
- Life, health and disability insurance
- Products liability
- Wage and hour
We have a well-established track record of defending class action allegations and litigation with creative, aggressive and practical litigation strategies. Our experience in defending class actions allows us to recognize the unique defense challenges posed by class action claims. Typically, the class action lawsuit involves hundreds, if not thousands or even tens of thousands of claimants. As a result, the stakes are often very high, and the costs of defense substantial, if not devastating, to the average business. We recognize this reality and routinely counsel clients on identifying and avoiding exposure to class action claims.
When a client is named as a defendant in a class action, we immediately begin an early exposure assessment of the claims, including an analysis of what our client should expect the day-to-day impact of the litigation to be on its business operations and employee morale. We emphasize that the early appointment and education of a client team may be crucial to quickly identifying and addressing important preliminary issues such as insurance coverage for the claims, the implications on securities law obligations and disclosures that may be triggered by the claims, the need to interface with government agencies that may be involved with the claims, the potential necessity for separate counsel for individual defendants, the impact the claims may have on public relations and media coverage, and the logistics of maintaining solid employee relations and communications, in spite of the litigation.
At the same time that we evaluate the potential class size and client exposure, we also work with the client to prepare a customized litigation strategy plan that includes an analysis of such legal issues as whether the class action mechanism is an appropriate vehicle for the joinder of the claims presented and whether state or federal law governs the case. From the outset, we conduct a thorough factual investigation of the claims and backgrounds of the plaintiff s named in the suit. We may also interview potential class members, and secure the services of experts necessary to defend the claims. We are proud of our success in targeting early discovery and motion practice to avoid class certification. We also keep a watchful eye on settlement opportunities, and press for alternative dispute resolution as appropriate. Most importantly, when a class action must be taken to trial, we are ready and able to do so, and have actually tried class action claims to successful conclusion before judges and juries.