Class Action Defense

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.
 

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Diversity

 At Wilson Elser, we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is a foundational value, critical to the success of our firm and central to the integrity and vitality of the legal field. Bringing together people of different backgrounds and beliefs, people with diverse perspectives, fosters the innovative and creative thinking that enhances our response to the needs of our clients. Wilson Elser’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and training as well as the organizations to which we belong and the programs we sponsor.

We believe in creating a work environment free of barriers and bias, where individual outlooks and talents are respected and valued. Our firm’s policy is to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, disability, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by the law. 

Beyond legal compliance, our firm strives to mirror the rich diversity of the communities in which we practice, to respect the diversity of our clients and their workforce and to employ best practices to identify, select, hire, retain and promote qualified individuals without boundaries or limitations, other than those imposed by their own choices and capabilities. This allows us to better represent our clients in today’s diverse, multicultural society. 

Wilson Elser is also committed to promoting diversity through the selection of vendors. We actively seek certified minority- and women-owned businesses and provide them with the opportunity to partner with us to provide services to our firm and our clients.