How to Craft a Successful Class Action Defense

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A recent large survey of corporate counsel showed that the No.1 worry facing in-house counsel is a class action lawsuit. In the face of conflicting district court decisions, successfully crafting a class action defense strategy in California can be a challenge. In this Law360 Expert Analysis, two members of Hueston Hennigan's class action defense practice, Steven Feldman and John Snow, provide a roadmap.

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More About Hueston Hennigan's Class Action Defense Practice

Hueston Hennigan attorneys have defended companies against the largest and most significant class action cases. We often have terminated these cases through early motions practice or by defeating a motion for class certification. But we also obtain extraordinary results when we are asked to take over after class certification. We do so by bringing trial lawyer training and credibility to class action defense, often dramatically narrowing the scope of damages and shifting the downside trial risk to the plaintiffs.

Representative matters have included:

  • Securing decertification of a consumer class action alleging violations of California's false advertising and consumer protection laws, on behalf of a publicly traded manufacturer of natural health products and nutritional supplements.
  • Representing Waste Management in a putative consumer class action seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages against Waste Management and others relating to garbage collection operations in Los Angeles, California. The complaint was dismissed on a demurrer.
  • Substituting in to represent a Corelogic subsidiary after a national class was certified with alleged damages exceeding $150 million. After a successful series of motions, obtained settlement for less than $10 million, including an attorneys' fees award providing less than 20 percent of plaintiffs' actual attorneys' fees. Obtaining a dismissal with prejudice of consolidated federal shareholder litigation arising from a $600 million settlement with the USDOJ for alleged off-label promotional activities related to Botox.
  • Obtaining a dismissal with prejudice of a false advertising class action against Nutraceutical subsidiary, NaturalCare, Inc.
  • Obtaining a settlement after trial for less than 10 percent of alleged damages in national class action against Fortune 500 company.