Class Action Defense

Class action defense raises a special set of strategic and tactical considerations. Our team has the experience to help our clients navigate them: We’ve successfully defended more than 400 class actions in federal and state courts across the United States, from bet-the-company litigation to routine but still potentially costly suits.

Our clients include Fortune 500 companies in the technology, finance, energy and consumer sectors; high-growth companies; and individuals. We focus on early dismissals and low settlements, but we’re well-known for our willingness to go to trial when justified.

Our record includes victories in a variety of claims, from traditional breach of warranty, product liability, employment and securities class actions to novel false labeling and massive Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) cases.

We work with our clients’ in-house team to understand the risks and objectives for each matter, conduct a cost-benefit analysis, and formulate an effective strategy for each case.

DISH Network is relying on us to try the highest-exposure case in history – a class action brought by the United States government and four states, seeking penalties upward of $23 billion. We also defended NFL quarterback Joe Theismann when he became the first public figure to be sued in a putative false advertising class action for endorsing a nutritional supplement. We secured the dismissal of that case and are defending the Ninth Circuit appeal.

We also successfully defended Whole Foods against a putative consumer class action alleging that several of its homeopathic products did not provide the advertised relief. The court dismissed all but one claim, and stayed the remaining claim on the basis that the FDA’s involvement in the realm of homeopathic medicines is so substantial that issues related to their labeling and efficacy are best left to the government to regulate. This ruling will likely stem the tide of class action litigation against homeopathic manufacturers that has risen over the last five years.

NVIDIA Corporation called on our team to help navigate allegations that it violated consumer protection laws by providing defective components to computer makers. We made new law arguing against class certification, which prompted resolution of the case. Our team also secured dismissal of a related securities class action.

Our team is also known for helping international companies navigate the complex U.S. class action system. That’s what we did for Boiron, the world’s largest manufacturer of homeopathic supplements, when it was hit with bet-the-company false labeling litigation that threatened the entire homeopathic drug industry. We defeated class certification and negotiated and obtained final approval of a favorable settlement over contentious objection.

Our employment team has handled wage-and-hour class actions since their onset. In one of the first, we prepared a successful attack on class certification for Burlington Coat Factory. Since then, we’ve secured precedent-setting decisions and helped establish new case law in wage-and-hour and Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims, successfully fending off plaintiffs’ attempts to push the boundaries of existing law in these areas and deterring copycat suits. Of our ability to win influential rulings for Sears and KMart despite an unfavorable precedent, The Recorder wrote: "It takes a lot of moxie to rest a client’s defense on the contention that a state’s supreme court is just plain wrong. But an Orrick team climbed out on that limb last year and persuaded two federal judges to follow." We bring the same approach to the table when the threat of class certification looms in other types of discrimination claims.

Our credibility with plaintiffs’ lawyers often helps us resolve cases outside the courtroom. They know our trial track record and our success rate with motions to dismiss. They also know that we are always prepared to take a class action to trial, if necessary, and have obtained numerous defense verdicts absolving our clients of all liability. These litigation successes frequently enable us to obtain favorable settlements early and cost effectively.

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