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Class Action Litigation Defense

Class actions carry significant risks of high monetary exposure, broad injunctive relief, and reputational harm. Our class action defense lawyers are well positioned to help business entities navigate the often perilous class action landscape, and leverage their experience in particular areas of law and specific industries to obtain positive results for clients. Our lawyers combine in-depth substantive knowledge with command of the intricate class action rules and procedures to provide clients with strong and cost-efficient defenses. 

We have handled matters involving consumer finance and mortgage banking, securities, environmental and toxic tort, consumer protection and products liability, antitrust, wage and hour, employment, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. We have represented Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, mortgage lenders and servicers, investment companies, broker-dealers, nonprofits, municipalities, limited partnerships, and law firms, as well as owners, officers, directors, and partners, in cases involving hundreds of thousands of putative class members and alleging billions of dollars in damages. 

Our lawyers utilize their skills to achieve clients’ goals through beneficial and efficient case resolution and seek creative and unique ways to challenge and defeat class certification. We regularly obtain dismissal of putative class claims on motions to dismiss, for summary judgment, or to compel individual arbitration. When those options are unsuccessful or not available, our lawyers do not hesitate to defend class claims through trial. Having handled numerous class action appeals in federal and state courts, we are also well versed in guiding defendants through the appellate process. In cases where settlement is the right approach, out lawyers work tirelessly to negotiate fair and reasonable settlements.

Capabilities

Consumer Finance and Mortgage Banking

We regularly defend financial services institutions in consumer class action litigation. Our lawyers have represented full-service banks, mortgage banks, mortgage loan originators and servicers, and other consumer financial services institutions in putative national, multistate, and state class actions involving claims alleging violation of federal and state statutes, as well as state common law. In particular, our lawyers have experience defending federal claims such as the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Credit Repair Organizations Act, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; state statutory claims alleging violations of unfair and deceptive acts and practices laws, California Business & Professions Code § 17200, state motor vehicle sales finance acts, and state analogs to federal consumer protection statutes; and all variations of common law claims such as breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, trespass, unjust enrichment, and many more. Our lawyers have significant knowledge of the intricacies of the substantive laws that govern the consumer financial services institutions and their deep understanding of the industries in which our clients operate. 

Securities and Derivative Suits

Our lawyers are nationally recognized for their experience and successes in the defense of securities fraud litigation and related derivative litigation. Drawing upon the firm’s deep experience in private securities fraud litigation, dating from the successful representation of a national accounting firm in what is believed to have been the first Rule 10b-5 class action ever to be tried to a conclusion, to cutting-edge investment company litigation, our lawyers have had frequent success in achieving early, favorable resolutions of securities cases by obtaining the dismissal of putative class action complaints, defeating motions for class certification, and limiting the scope of alleged class periods.

We defend large publicly held corporations, investment companies, investment advisory firms, underwriters, large and small brokerage firms, and venture capital firms, as well as the officers and directors of these organizations, in class actions and derivative suits. In addition to claims under the federal securities laws, these cases often involve common law claims alleging negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Environmental and Toxic Tort

Our environmental and toxic tort lawyers have defended claims in class actions involving allegations arising from oil spills, gas pipeline leaks, chemical waste discharge, toxic spills from train derailments, lead paint, PCB and petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, vinyl chloride contamination, landfill contamination, and contaminated vaccines. We have defended environmental and toxic tort class actions based on state and federal laws, state unfair trade practices and consumer protection acts, the common law of negligence, nuisance, and trespass. Relief sought in these cases has included damages for property losses, diminution of property value, emotional distress, and personal injury, including fear of cancer, medical monitoring, and increased risk of disease.

Consumer Protection and Products Liability

We have extensive experience defending clients in class actions asserting claims under consumer protection laws, including statutes imposing severe penalties for what was once accepted commercial behavior, such as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. The firm also defends clients against claims relating to defective products, breach of warranty, false or misleading advertising, failure to disclose, misrepresentations of purpose or use, inadequate service or support, and other consumer fraud issues. In addition, our lawyers have experience defending consumer protection actions seeking damages while also defending parallel government enforcement proceedings and defending actions arising from product recalls.

 Antitrust and Trade Regulation

Our lawyers have defended clients in class actions involving alleged violations of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, the Robinson-Patman Act, and RICO, as well as state unfair trade practice statutes based on claims of price fixing, other forms of collusions, price discrimination, monopolization, and life insurances sales practices. 

Wage and Hour

We regularly defend corporate and municipal clients in a broad range of wage and hour and wage payment class actions, including putative national, international, multistate and state classes; potential classes of hundreds of thousands of employees; and alleged damages in the billions of dollars. These actions include off-the-clock work claims; overtime claims; challenges to exempt status; claims for employee status and benefits by temporary workers, third-party contract workers, independent contractors, and volunteers; and technical claims for violations of meal and rest period, termination pay, wage payment, and wage deduction requirements.

The firm’s extensive class action litigation experience, when combined with our substantive knowledge in the wage and hour and wage payment areas, enables our lawyers to anticipate issues, identify and raise arcane defenses that other counsel may miss, and think strategically to avoid or minimize the potential problems these actions present.

Employment

Our lawyers have defended a broad range of employment class actions for corporate and municipal clients as well as high-stakes adverse treatment and adverse impact discrimination class actions involving race, gender, age, and disability issues, and hiring, promotions, discipline, harassment, and discharge claims. We also have substantial experience with class claims for retaliation, breach of contract, entitlement to benefits, violations of the WARN Act, violations of ERISA, payment of prevailing wages, and other employment-related claims. When defending these matters, we involve employment counselors who understand the nuances of the law, the emotional nature of these claims, and the needs of the workplace.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

We have extensive experience defending class action litigation involving the sending of text messages, telephone calls, and facsimiles allegedly in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Our lawyers regularly defend clients in putative TCPA class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States, and are familiar with the complexities of the defenses available under the statute and its regulations, as well as the bases on which class certification can be defeated. In addition, our lawyers advise clients on their internal policies, procedures, and recordkeeping practices to confirm that they are compliant with the TCPA and related regulations and to reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of class action exposure. We also regularly assist clients in obtaining contribution or indemnity from third parties and in seeking and obtaining insurance coverage both for costs of defense and for any underlying liability.

Biometric Information Privacy Act

K&L Gates was one of the first law firms to develop a multidisciplinary group to address the significant class action litigation risk posed by the collection, storage and use of biometric data. Our biometric data compliance and defense team uses a multidisciplinary approach to support our clients. We work closely with the firm’s privacy, data protection and information management, labor and employment, class action litigation defense, and insurance coverage lawyers to advise companies who collect, store, and use biometric data about regulatory compliance and risk mitigation. We also defend them in lawsuits filed under statutes like the Biometric Information Privacy Act. We believe our 360 degree approach to these cases is unique. Our goal is to not only quickly extricate our clients from these cases but also work to ensure ongoing compliance with BIPA and other privacy and data protection laws, and to do it all—whenever possible—with funds from applicable insurance policies. We serve as privacy counsel for regional, national, and international companies with diverse privacy issues. We have the experience to advise clients on a range of issues and compliance matters including defending clients in putative class action lawsuit suits brought under state biometric privacy laws, developing compliance programs for companies employing biometric systems in the United States and around the world, and advising companies regarding biometrics-related insurance coverage issues.

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