Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Our Team of Federal Defense Lawyers Represents Companies in Class Action Litigation Nationwide
Class action lawsuits present substantial risks for companies of all sizes. Even if a class action does not threaten a company’s viability as a going concern, the potential liability and loss of goodwill resulting from the litigationcan have significant and long-term financial consequences. As a result, when facing a class action lawsuit, executing an effective defense needs to be the company’s top priority.
In today’s world, class action lawsuits are largely driven by the plaintiffs’ bar. Plaintiffs’ lawyers often devote substantial resources to researching potential claims, identifying potential plaintiffs, and assembling a putative class. While much of legal practice is an art, formulating a class action lawsuit is a science. Class action plaintiffs’ lawyers follow a formula to get their cases to the certification stage, knowing that certification will often trigger settlement negotiations.
Experienced Defense Lawyers with a Proven Track Record in High-Stakes Litigation
Oberheiden P.C.’s class action lawsuit defense lawyers bring their combined experience to the table. Many of our defense lawyers are former U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors—and, as a result, they are highly experienced in handling high-risk and high-volume investigations and litigation. As class action litigation defense counsel, we work alongside our corporate clients to build strategic defenses, and we rely on our vast experience to steer class action lawsuits toward favorable resolutions as efficiently as possible.
Defense Counsel for Class Action Lawsuits
Class action lawsuits can involve an extraordinarily wide range of allegations. While lawsuits involving consumer complaints are most common and tend to get the most publicity, we are increasingly seeing class action lawsuits targeting other allegations as well. At Oberheiden P.C., we provide defense representation for companies facing all types of class action lawsuits, including:
Federal and state antitrust laws prohibit companies from engaging in commercial activities that unfairly disadvantage consumers. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other federal authorities enforce U.S. antitrust laws, these laws give consumers a private right of action in many cases as well. We defend companies against antitrust class action lawsuits alleging price fixing, artificial price inflation, and other violations.
Civil Rights Violations
Civil rights laws also provide individuals with a private right of action that facilitates class action litigation in many cases. We defend companies, police departments, school districts, and other clients against lawsuits alleging violations such as racial, sex-based, and gender-based discrimination.
As mentioned above, consumer fraud claims are among the most common types of class action lawsuits. Consumer fraud claims are in many ways the quintessential class action. From allegations of false and misleading advertising to allegations of selling defective products and violating consumer protection laws, we routinely see class actions filed against automotive manufacturers, consumer product manufacturers, and both brick-and-mortar and online retailers.
Consumer Protection Violations
Along with consumer fraud, consumer protection is another area of concern for potential class action litigation. Consumer protection laws cast a wide net; and, in addition to prohibiting fraudulent advertising and other forms of fraud, they also prohibit things like improperly sharing consumers’ private information and engaging in spam and robocalling campaigns. We defend companies in class action litigation involving all types of alleged consumer protection violations.
Data breach litigation is another area that has presented increased risk for corporations in recent years. As threats to companies’ data security grow, so too does the risk of class action litigation. We defend companies against all types of data breach class action lawsuits, including those involving financial information, health information, and other forms of personally identifying information (PII).
Alleged violations of anti-discrimination laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can lead to substantial (and often highly publicized) claims against employers. Laws such as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) give aggrieved employees the ability to pursue class action claims as well.
Class action lawsuits involving environmental claims frequently arise out of spills, leaks, and other forms of contamination. Air pollution claims are becoming increasingly common as well. In addition to defending companies against environmental class action lawsuits, we provide representation for federal investigations and enforcement proceedings under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other pertinent statutes as well.
Mass Tort Claims
Mass tort claims can involve any type of issue that leads to harm affecting a significant number of consumers. This includes defective products and environmental contamination incidents, among others. While mass tort litigation is technically a separate discipline from class action litigation, there is significant overlap between the two, and we serve as defense counsel for both types of cases.
Medical Device Claims
A significant amount of class action litigation has grown out of the sale of defective medical devices, including hip implants, knee implants, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) filters. With several of these cases being resolved in the plaintiffs’ favor in recent years, this is a growing area of concern for device manufacturers and retailers.
Pharmaceutical and Drug Claims
Drug makers, pharmacies, and other retailers can face pharmaceutical and drug claims involving allegations of defects, mislabeling, and failure to warn of potential side effects. Several recent high-profile class actions against drug makers have centered on allegations that these companies knew of risks associated with their products and either ignored them or misrepresented the results of scientific studies to the consuming public. Given the success of these cases, we anticipate that many similar class action lawsuits will be filed going forward as well.
We defend public companies, private companies, advisory firms, and broker-dealer firms in securities fraud class action litigation. Common allegations in these cases include fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions, misuse of corporate or customer funds, insider trading, and other violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Here, too, in addition to serving as class action defense counsel, we also represent clients in federal enforcement matters involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the DOJ.
FAQs: Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Why Does the Law Allow Class Action Lawsuits Against Corporations and Other Entities?
While class action litigation has morphed over recent years, class action laws have their roots in consumer protection and corporate responsibility. These laws were originally intended to allow consumers to pursue claims as a group when it was not cost-effective to pursue their claims individually. Although this is still fundamentally the case today, class action litigation is increasingly being led by the plaintiffs’ bar, with law firms collecting multi-million-dollar fees and many plaintiffs never bothering to collect their fraction of a percentage of the overall settlement or verdict.
What Is the Difference Between a Mass Tort Claim and a Class Action Lawsuit?
The main difference between mass tort litigation and class action litigation is that the plaintiffs in mass tort cases are still treated as individuals. In class action litigation, by contrast, the plaintiffs’ interests are jointly represented by a class representative. This leads to procedural differences as well—such as the need for certification of the class in order for a class action lawsuit to proceed.
What is Certification in Class Action Litigation, and Why Is It Significant?
Technically, all class action lawsuits begin as putative class actions. The plaintiffs claim to be a class, but this is not yet formally the case, as designation of a class occurs through the certification process in court.
Certification is often a highly contested aspect of class action litigation—and for good reason. If a defendant can prevent class certification, this can effectively prevent the entire class action lawsuit from going forward. Without certification, the plaintiffs would be forced to pursue their claims individually (which, most likely, would be nowhere near cost effective). But, with certification, the plaintiff class obtains significant leverage, and this often leads to settlement negotiations.
How Often Do Companies Take Class Action Lawsuits To Trial?
Like all forms of litigation, the vast majority of class action lawsuits are resolved before trial. This can involve either: (i) preventing certification and securing dismissal, (ii) securing dismissal at an earlier or later stage of the process, or (iii) negotiating an out-of-court settlement. Overall, only about one percent of civil lawsuits go to trial, and it is likely that the percentage of class action lawsuits resolved at the trial stage is even lower.
When Should a Company Engage Class Action Defense Counsel?
Ideally, companies will engage class action defense counsel before a lawsuit is filed. Oftentimes, it will be apparent that a class action lawsuit is on the horizon, and taking a proactive approach can help facilitate a strategic and cost-effective resolution. For companies that have been served with class action complaints, it is imperative to engage defense counsel immediately.
Speak with a Class Action Lawsuit Defense Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
If you would like to know more about Oberheiden P.C.’s class action defense practice, we invite you to get in touch. Please call 888-680-1745 or contact us online to arrange a complimentary initial consultation.