Practice/Industry Group Overview
If not defended properly from the outset, class actions can move quickly from distracting, to unmanageable, to crippling – or worse. As perceptively noted by the Seventh Circuit in a 1999 decision, “A grant of class status can propel the stakes of a case into the stratosphere.”
Our attorneys work across disciplines to counter the complex claims that increasingly characterize this area of the law, in many cases obtaining early dismissals of the named plaintiffs or defeating motions for class certification.
Wilson Elser has an experienced and effective Class Action Defense practice that opposes class actions in state and federal courts. Representative cases involve securities claims, anti-trust issues, consumer legislation, product liability, Internet conduct, fraud, employment discrimination, wage-and-hour claims and other labor offenses, and common law claims. Our attorneys work across disciplines to counter the complex claims that increasingly characterize this area of the law, in many cases obtaining early dismissals of the named plaintiffs or defeating motions for class certification.
Our strategies for defending class action litigation are varied and always in keeping with our clients’ objectives. They include:
- Obtaining early dismissals of the named plaintiffs’ claims through motions to dismiss based on such defenses as the statute of limitations, lack of standing or injury, or failure to state a claim.
- Moving early for summary adjudication and/or proactively defeating class certification through effective, focused early discovery.
- Obtaining early stays of the proceedings under the doctrines of primary jurisdiction and federal preemption.
- Removing class actions from state to federal court.
- Moving to consolidate and transfer multiple class action filings to the U.S. Panel on Multidistrict Litigation when appropriate, rather than opposing a class action format.
- Achieving favorable settlements.
- Proceeding to trial, when necessary.
We have experience conducting class- and merit-based discovery, taking interlocutory appeals of certification rulings and administering class action settlements.
Class actions are increasing in complexity. Cases are becoming more duplicative and overlapping, with motions filed in multiple jurisdictions during the same time period. With its national network of offices, Wilson Elser is well positioned to launch a coordinated multi-front defense in these situations. Our attorneys are experienced in simplifying the most complicated cases by bringing motions either for federal multidistrict consolidation or for state and federal coordination.
Well aware that class actions can generate onerous fees, we leverage our considerable litigation experience, our national footprint and our cutting-edge technologies to handle these matters quickly and efficiently. Reflecting the culture of the broader firm, our Class Action Defense attorneys acknowledge and respect the realities of each client’s bottom line.