Class actions and multi-district litigation (MDL) are different than traditional litigation. These cases often are textbook examples of bet-the-company litigation. Not only do class allegations or MDL consolidations of hundreds or thousands of cases create potentially vast exposure, but the collateral ramifications of these proceedings can be costly—and even debilitating—for companies and their leadership. Copycat suits, regulatory investigations or enforcement proceedings, shareholder dissatisfaction, and harm to general goodwill and customer relations all are potential collateral effects to consider. In light of their nature, class actions and MDL proceedings can be difficult—and expensive—to defend.
Stites & Harbison litigators have considerable experience in class actions and MDL litigation and have a long record of consistently delivering outstanding results for our clients. Our attorneys practice in state and federal courts across the country, and we have defended actions involving many different industries and companies. We are known for our judgment, business savvy, and strategic advice.
We Know Class Actions
The choice of defense counsel at the outset of a class action or MDL proceeding can make the difference between a favorable and efficient resolution and prolonged litigation that imposes costs and burdens that could have been avoided. We understand the need not only to defend the litigation, but to do so efficiently and cost effectively, and to help guide you through the process every step of the way. While litigation is inherently uncertain, we strive to keep surprises to a minimum. We work collaboratively with our clients to achieve end results that favorably address the litigation and any collateral effects of that litigation.
Knowing the nuances of the procedural rules at issue in class actions and MDL proceedings is critical to mounting a successful defense and achieving a favorable result. Federal and state courts across the country routinely recognize that the decision whether to certify a class can be as important as a decision on the merits of the case due to the pressure created on the party losing the certification battle. MDL consolidations similarly pose threats (and opportunities) not found in traditional one-on-one litigation. Stites & Harbison litigators understand this reality and have the experience and expertise to navigate the critical—and unique—landscape of these types of cases.
Our team collectively has defended hundreds of class actions and MDL proceedings across numerous industries in federal and state courts across the country. Our class action attorneys have been recognized for their excellence by their peers, by their clients, and by industry publications and rating services. Several members are recognized in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers. We assess every case at the outset and endeavor to let our clients know what to expect. We have experience dealing with class action and MDL plaintiffs’ counsel all over the country, including those who practice in our home jurisdictions as well as nationally-recognized plaintiffs’ firms. We know the strategies and tactics of class action attorneys, right down to the “playbooks” used by some firms. We know the substantive law, the state and federal rules, and the key precedent applying to class certification at the federal and state levels. We apply our experience and knowledge to determine the best strategy for the case at hand and to advise our clients accordingly. We are proud of our record of consistently obtaining favorable results for our clients, whether it be outright dismissal of the case or a global settlement that disposes of both the pending litigation and the need to worry about any further litigation by members of the class.
Our deep bench of litigators are highly collaborative, drawing on experience from lawyers throughout the firm to provide representation that is comprehensive, business-minded, and cost-effective. For example:
- We work closely with our dedicated eDiscovery team to manage discovery in an efficient and cost-effective manner, whether dealing with boxes of hard copy records or millions of emails and electronic records.
- We have established relationships with public relations firms, class action administrators, and discovery vendors, and our attorneys are accustomed to dealing with media inquiries and general publicity from a high-stakes case when needed.
- Recognizing the continuing rise in data breaches—and associated litigation—we partner with our Privacy & Data Security Team (the co-chairs of which are designated as Certified Information Privacy Professionals by International Association of Privacy Professionals) to help our clients address not only the litigation, but the multitude of regulatory and public relations issues that can result from a data breach.
- We deal regularly with investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), state attorneys general, state insurance departments, and other regulatory bodies that may arise parallel to a pending class action.
In addition to knowledge of the critical mechanics—and potential minefields—presented by class actions and MDL proceedings, our litigators bring their substantive expertise to bear in every matter—large or small. Our litigators have represented clients in a wide range of industries defending class action claims and MDL proceedings of all kinds, including:
- Bad Faith (insurance and contracts)
- Breach of Contract and Associated Covenants (express or implied)
- Consumer Protection
- Data Breaches
- ERISA and employee benefits
- Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
- Fair Labor Standards Act collective actions and state law wage and hour class actions
- Fiduciary Duty
- Financial Institutions and Subprime Litigation
- Insurance and Annuities
- Medical and Products Liability
- Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
In what finally may prove to be the effective death knell for most efforts to pursue class-wide arbitration, a closely-divided United States Supreme Court has now held that a party cannot be required to arbitrate claims on a class-wide basis unless the arbitration agreement clearly contemplates such a possibility.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2019 edition of Kentucky Super Lawyers recently honored 42 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in the Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., offices. The publication named 33 attorneys to the Super Lawyers list and nine attorneys to the Rising Stars list.