Class Action Defense

Overview

While defending any lawsuit can place a strain on a business, confronting a class action magnifies this risk. Class actions not only disrupt business operations and drain financial resources, but also destroy a company’s good name and future prospects. That’s why when a business is hit with a class action lawsuit, it needs Dykema—a leading class action defense firm with an enviable record of success in defending high-stakes class action cases.

Start to finish, our lawyers excel in effectively and efficiently handling all aspects of class action defense—from initial analysis and investigation to pleading challenges, pre-emptive motions to strike, discovery, opposing certification, trial and appeal. Dykema lawyers have a proven record of developing and employing strategies to resolve class actions before certification and trial. For those matters not resolved on the pleadings, our lawyers use solid strategies to achieve settlements favorable to our clients, while keeping client expense at a minimum. When it is not possible to end a class action before trial on terms satisfactory to our clients, we have experienced trial lawyers "possessing an excellent track record" (Chambers USA 2017) and jury trial experience that few firms can match. As one of the nation’s preeminent trial law firms for business, our lawyers routinely try cases to successful defense verdicts.  It is no surprise that we have obtained positive outcomes in defending class actions for many Fortune 500 clients, including industry leaders in financial services and lending, securities, insurance, automotive, retail and a variety of manufacturing fields.

The Firm also recently ranked as a “Litigation Powerhouse” in Class Actions in the BTI Litigation Outlook 2018 report, based on direct client feedback from in-depth interviews with corporate counsel at the world’s largest companies. Some of our practice areas are highlighted below, together with examples of our recent experience.

Financial Services—Consumer Claims

As one of the few firms with a nationwide class action defense practice devoted to lenders, we have successfully represented many major financial institutions—including the nation’s largest reverse mortgage lender—in multiple high-profile class action lawsuits. Backed by the strength of our nationally recognized Financial Industry Group, our class action lawyers vigorously defend banks, thrifts, residential and commercial mortgage lenders, automotive finance companies, and credit card companies against class actions alleging consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, wrongful foreclosure, inflated title insurance premiums and credit discrimination under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). We also regularly defend clients in class actions alleging violations of the various fair credit-related statutes such as the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Fair Credit Reporting Transactions Act (FCRA), the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Experience Matters

We have:

  • Obtained summary dismissal of a class action brought on behalf of thousands of residential borrowers alleging the bank defendants violated a state statute by failing to absorb the cost of a mortgage discharge recording fee.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a debt purchaser client in an FDCPA putative class action alleging the debt purchaser misled consumers regarding the amount of their principal balances.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a mortgage lender client in a multicount class action alleging rights to loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
  • Procured an order dismissing a class action filed against a bank client’s credit card bank in a class action alleging violations of the adverse action notice requirements of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). This result is significant because there are few cases addressing similar substantive notice issues.
  • Obtained a judgment on the pleadings in a banking institution client’s favor in a class action alleging the client engaged in unfair business practices relating to loan modifications. The entire case was dismissed with prejudice.

Product Liability

Our product liability class action defense team has earned a national reputation through successful defense of class action claims pertaining to all types of consumer goods and durable products. We have represented manufacturers of household products, industrial and construction equipment, vehicles (in all aspects of product design, development and marketing) and pharmaceutical and medical devices such as breast implants, hip implants and TMJ devices. Our lawyers have also provided assistance with amicus briefs in class actions involving tobacco, computers and other products.

Our product liability class actions team is skilled at devising—and implementing—legally sound, technologically accurate and effective defenses to unfounded claims. What’s more, we excel at managing comprehensive yet cost-effective discovery in complex cases, and helping experts to develop sound and understandable expert witness testimony. We are further distinguished by our deep well of firmwide resources, including our many lawyers who have technical degrees and backgrounds in the sciences and related technologies.

We also help clients avoid product liability class actions by counseling them in developing product programs for product assessment, safety design, labeling, warnings, advertising and warranty programs. We work with industry groups and standard-making bodies, and with the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, to shape and update the controlling law.

Experience Matters

We have:

  • Obtained summary judgment for Ford Motor Company in a putative class action alleging defects in vehicle air conditioning systems.
  • Represented several major OEMs in class action litigation across the country, as lead trial counsel, discovery counsel coordinator and national expert counsel. We are one of few firms that has won by jury verdict, multiple class action suits for automotive OEMs.
  • Defeated class certification in a consumer products liability class action case alleging defective design of a major motorcycle manufacturer’s engines. 
  • Successfully defended product liability class actions against manufacturers of prescription drugs, OTC drugs and device manufacturers.

Antitrust, Other Consumer and Trade Matters

We represent automotive industry clients, major retailers, insurers and others in antitrust, consumer and trade class actions related to everything from rebates, insurance coverage, credit card collection practices to warranty issues, in cases alleging violations of the federal antitrust laws, state consumer protection acts the FDCPA, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other claims. Strengthened by the knowledge and experience of a former assistant director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), we also frequently handle class actions involving consumer protection issues and deceptive trade practices, such as false advertising, deceptive charges or bundling, and steering claims.

Experience Matters

We have:

  • Obtained dismissal of a nationwide putative class action against a razorblade manufacturer in a consumer fraud action alleging misrepresentations regarding its replacement razorblades. We handled two class action suits brought on these claims. The first—filed in Michigan—was dismissed by plaintiffs’ counsel after a Michigan court ruled on a motion in our client’s favor. In the second—filed with a new class representative in California—the court ruled in favor of our client finding as a matter of law the alleged misrepresentations did not state a claim under California consumer protection and breach of warranty law.
  • Prevailed on a series of motions pursuant to which the federal district court judge rejected the class’ contention—that the case involved a “per se” price fixing violation—determining instead the case would proceed at trial under a rule of reason analysis. Because of the court’s ruling, the class conceded it could not prevail, and the case was dismissed.
  • Defeated class certification in multidistrict litigation in which plaintiffs claimed that OnStar and various OEMs failed to disclose their in-vehicle analog telecommunications systems would cease to operate after the FAA permitted cellular service providers to discontinue analog service.
  • Successfully defended postage meter manufacturer in state class action brought under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) relating to lease program for postage meters.
  • Defended several major apparel companies in class action lawsuits alleging violations of the Song Beverly Credit Card Act—a California state law that prohibits merchants from requesting personal identification information from credit card holders making credit card purchases. The case was favorably settled without an admission of liability.

Securities Fraud

Our securities litigation team represents major Wall Street firms, regional firms, banks, investment advisors, financial planners, issuers, and their officers and directors, and a broad range of other business clients, including those in the manufacturing, health care, data processing and high tech industries. We have handled class actions alleging securities fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of state and federal securities law.

Experience Matters

We have:

  • Obtained dismissal of a securities fraud claim based largely on the safe harbor for forward-looking statements enacted as part of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act.
  • Represented a global transportation supplier in obtaining dismissal of fraud claims for over $100 million premised on alleged false and misleading statements made in connection with corporate acquisitions. The Dykema team also obtained a favorable settlement of these claims on appeal, as well as directed the settlement through complex procedural hurdles given the simultaneous bankruptcy reorganization of the corporate defendant, and the overlap of claims stemming from a separately pending ERISA litigation suit.
  • Defeated class certification in a class action under the Commodities Exchange Act case arising out of a $70 million Ponzi scheme.

Labor and Employment

We defend employers in discrimination and harassment class actions and putative class actions and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective actions. Our Chambers USA ranked labor and employment lawyers have enjoyed exceptional success in opposing class certifications and securing early dismissals in such cases.

Experience Matters

We have:

  • Defeated as futile under the Federal Rule 23 standards, plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file an amended complaint to add the class allegations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Obtained summary judgment on a class action age discrimination claim against a major retailer and its related entities.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement in a particularly contentious racial harassment class action.

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