RKC has an extensive class action practice in a variety of areas including consumer litigation, product liability, construction, banking and insurance law. These type of claims often result in class actions which pose significant exposure and expense to our clients regardless of the merits. In the area of consumer litigation, RKC has had substantial responsibility on a number of leading class action cases in federal and state courts, and under the American Arbitration Association Class Action Rules. Our attorneys have been successful in emphasizing due process considerations involved in class actions, as well as the difficulties of proof relating to causation and fact of injury. In our general litigation of consumer claims, the firm has been responsible for some of the more significant cases restricting the types of damages that are recoverable under the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as imposing strict requirements of causation in order to establish violations.
Representative Class Action Cases:
- RKC represented a major foreign automobile manufacturer and its American subsidiary in a putative, nationwide class action in the Southern District of Florida. The putative class representatives, represented by well-known plaintiffs' class action lawyers, alleged that components of the braking system installed on particular vehicles suffered from defects that caused the vehicle’s brake pads and rotors to wear out prematurely and need replacing every 7,500 to 15,000 miles. The suit alleged, among other claims, FDUTPA violations and breach of written warranties. RKC, working with the manufacturer's national coordinating counsel, secured dismissal of the case at the pleadings stage by showing that the bulk of the claims were time-barred by valid warranty limitations. Further, RKC helped thwart plaintiffs' efforts to circumvent these warranty limitations by demonstrating for the court that key elements of each claim were missing.
- RKC has handled several securities class actions for one of the largest banks in the country, obtaining a voluntary dismissal of one after invoking the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act, and favorably settling another with a vigorous demonstration that the underlying investments were not securities at all. We also handled a consumer class action under Florida's Consumer Collection Practices Act, facilitating a favorable settlement based on effective challenges to the underlying merits of the claims.
- RKC resolved a federal class action against a Fortune 500 company based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Although the estimate total exposure ranged in the multi-millions of dollars, RKC was able to settle with the main plaintiff for a nominal amount before the class was certified. The case was dismissed with prejudice.
- Appointed by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon to be national lead counsel for of the contractors involved in the Chinese Drywall Multidistrict litigation. The Chinese Drywall MDL involved claims concerning allegedly defective drywall, sold and installed in tens of thousands of homes around the United States, against over 1,000 defendants. Numerous classes of plaintiffs were established based on the distribution chain of the product and each type of defendant in the distribution chain was separated into a distinct class, one of which was the contractors that installed the product. RKC was lead counsel for the contractor class.
- The firm also represents major insurance companies in class actions involving important issues concerning the legality of certain insurance practices or the meaning of critical provisions of insurance policies. We have been successful in preemptively dismissing numerous class actions by prevailing on standing issues or establishing as a threshold matter that the class representative’s claims do not state a cause of action.
- RKC was successful in defeating class action certification in California for a national client by focusing the court’s attention on the untimeliness of Plaintiff’s motion to certify the putative class. In a related case, RKC was involved in defeating the class claim by forcing individualized arbitration.
- In Arkansas, RKC was involved in defeating a class claim by showing the class representative’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations, making the class-representative and insufficient representative of the class.
- RKC was also involved defeating a statewide class arbitration action by defeating the class-representative’s claims on the same ground, as well as showing that the individual issues associated with each class member’s claims would make the class process unmanageable. Once class certification is defeated many plaintiffs simply abandon their claims or reduce their demands to a reasonable amount. These claims have also included multi-million dollar claims under the AAA’s class action rules, Regardless, RKC is prepared to defend the client with creative strategies that challenge the Plaintiffs’ legal theories on every legitimate grounds while simultaneously aggressively developing a strong factual record to attack not only liability issues, but standing, causation and damages.
- RKC defended with co-counsel a national banking institution in a class action which attacked the bank's method of prioritizing deposits, alleging that the order of customers' transactions were manipulated to produce the maximum amount of overdraft fees. After preliminary discovery, on the bank's motion to dismiss the class allegations, the court held that class action treatment was inappropriate, finding that the claims of the putative class lacked commonality and typicality, and that the damages allegedly sustained by the putative members were incapable of class proof. In light of this ruling, the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by the class representative.