RumbergerKirk has an extensive class action practice in a variety of areas, including consumer litigation, product liability, construction, banking law, and insurance law. These types 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, we have had substantial responsibility on a number of leading class action cases in federal courts, 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.
Our class action services include:
- Banking Law
- Consumer Defense
- Insurance Law
- Product Liability
- Toxic Torts
- RumbergerKirk 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. Working with the manufacturer’s national coordinating counsel, we secured dismissal of the case at the pleading stage by showing that the bulk of the claims were time-barred by valid warranty limitations. Further, we helped thwart plaintiffs’ efforts to circumvent these warranty limitations by demonstrating for the court that key elements of each claim were missing.
- We have 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.
- Our team 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, we were 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 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 contractor’s that installed the product. We were lead counsel for the contractor class.
- We also represent 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.
- We were 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, we were involved in defeating the class claim by forcing individualized arbitration.
- In Arkansas, our team 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.
- We were also involved in 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, we were prepared to defend the client with creative strategies that challenge the Plaintiffs’ legal theories on legitimate grounds while aggressively developing a strong factual record to attack liability issues, as well as standing, causation, and damages.
- We 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.