Class Action Litigation

Robinson+Cole's Class Action Team includes litigators with a broad range of experience. Team members have handled class actions in myriad substantive areas, ranging from antitrust and employment to sales practices and securities. The Class Action Team successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court to grant certiorari and served as co-counsel on the merits in Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013), in which the Court rejected a plaintiff's attempt to evade federal jurisdiction by stipulating that the amount sought would not exceed the $5 million threshold under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The team has handled putative class actions nationwide in substantive areas, such as insurance and products liability. It regularly handles putative class actions in the federal and state courts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York and has been involved in a number of Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) proceedings. The Class Action Team is well versed in the latest trends involving the Class Action Fairness Act, electronic discovery rules, procedures and best practices, MDL Panel procedures, and class action settlement procedures. The firm uses advanced technology to efficiently review and process electronic discovery materials.

The Class Action Team has successfully represented defendants in putative class actions, and it has successfully achieved dismissal on an early dispositive motion prior to commencement of discovery. In other cases, it has prevailed on an early motion to strike class allegations or successfully defeated plaintiffs' motions for class certification. The team has also successfully achieved settlements of class actions on terms favorable to our clients and obtained court approval.

Class actions are typically staffed with lawyers who have substantial class action experience as well as experience with the relevant industry and substantive law. Robinson+Cole's Class Action Team lawyers know the industry and the substantive law, and have substantial trial experience. The team members who handle health insurance/managed care class actions have extensive experience with that industry and the governing statutory and regulatory requirements. Insurance class actions are staffed with lawyers who focus their practice on insurance coverage issues and know the ins and outs of insurance company procedures and practices. Products liability class actions are often staffed with lawyers who regularly try products liability cases. Bringing the right lawyers to the table from day one allows the Class Action Team to achieve efficiency and develop innovative case strategies.

    • Experience
      • Significant Reported Decisions

      • Knowles v. Standard Fire Insurance Company 133 S. Ct. 1345 (Supreme Court of the United States)  – This appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States and resulted in a 9-0 opinion in favor of our client. Our petition for certiorari was granted by the Supreme Court after the Eighth Circuit had declined to hear a discretionary appeal, and after the Supreme Court had denied a petition for certiorari on the same issue the year before. This is the first case in which the Supreme Court granted review under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. The issue on appeal was whether a named plaintiff in a putative class action can defeat federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 by stipulating to limit damages to $5 million or less even if the amount potentially recoverable by the putative class would exceed the federal jurisdictional amount in the absence of the stipulation. The Supreme Court accepted our argument that federal court jurisdiction could not be defeated by such a stipulation. The underlying case involved the alleged failure to pay general contractor overhead and profit as part of the settlement of property insurance claims, and was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff after the case was remanded to the federal district court.

      • Consumer Financial Services

      • Defending lender in putative class action in Connecticut federal court alleging that lender charged excessive interest rates on defaulted loans.
      • Defending lender in putative class action in Connecticut Superior Court alleging that lender charged excessive interest on late balloon payments.
      • Defending lender in putative class action in Connecticut federal court alleging that lender engaged in illegal discrimination with respect to student loans.
      • Defending law firm in putative class action in Massachusetts federal court against firm and lenders alleging improper assignment of mortgages in foreclosure.
      • Employment and Employee Benefits

      • Served as lead counsel for the State of Connecticut in a class action brought against the State of Connecticut by a proposed class of state employees who were insured under group insurance policies issued to the State of Connecticut by Anthem Insurance or its predecessors. Upon the demutualization of Anthem Insurance, approximately $100,000,000 was paid to the state as a “member” of Anthem. The proposed class contended that they were the “members” and that the proceeds of the demutualization should have been paid to them and not the State.
      • Defending employer in putative class action in Connecticut federal court alleging that employees were incorrectly categorized as exempt employees, and seeking to recover overtime payments.
      • Co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel in putative class action in New Jersey federal court alleging that employer violated ERISA and breached its fiduciary duties to employees who participated in long term savings plan, resulting in employees’ loss of retirement assets.
      • Health Insurance/Managed Care Organizations

      • Defended a managed care organization against a member class action (100,000+ class members) challenging prompt provision of services and notification of denied and terminated benefits.
      • Defended a managed care organization against a class action lawsuit brought by providers alleging that the MCO failed to properly administer a risk-sharing arrangement.
      • Defended a managed care organization against a member class action alleging that the MCO improperly sought subrogation recoveries for medical costs paid in personal injury actions.
      • Defended a managed care organization against a class action brought by providers and a provider trade association alleging that differing reimbursement rates paid to different provider classes violated state public policy and constituted violations of unfair insurance and unfair trade practices statutes.
      • Defended a managed care organization in federal court actions brought by physicians and consumers as part of a nationwide class action against leading MCOs in the health care industry. Multiple lawsuits were filed in state court alleging RICO violations, unfair trade practices and fraud claims.
      • Defended a managed care organization in a class action in New York Supreme Court alleging wrongful termination of health care coverage and failure to provide proper notice before terminating coverage.
      • Defended a managed care organization in 34 putative class actions in Connecticut federal court alleging that company made false and misleading statements with respect to its financial condition in its securities filings.
      • Defending a managed care organization in putative class action in Connecticut Superior Court filed by providers alleging coercive and anti-competitive conduct, including violations of antitrust and unfair trade practice statutes.
      • Property Insurance Coverage and Claim Handling Practices

      • Represented and currently representing insurance carriers in a number of putative class actions in Louisiana federal district court involving Hurricane Katrina-related insurance coverage and claim handling issues and business practices. Successfully obtained dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) or orders striking class allegations on the pleadings in a number of these cases. Also representing insurers in putative class action filed by the State of Louisiana seeking to recover grant payments made by the State to homeowners.
      • Represented an insurance carrier in a putative class action involving the applicability of a state insurance statute to claims arising out of the 2004 hurricanes.
      • Representing insurer in several putative class actions in various jurisdictions involving property insurance claim handling practices.
      • Products Liability

      • Represented a world-wide leader in electronics in defending a class action brought by thousands of claimants alleging consumer fraud and unfair trade practices arising out of the sale of allegedly defective DVD players.
      • Represented a leading manufacturer of office equipment in a class action in Connecticut Superior Court alleging consumer fraud and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act stemming from sales of desktop inkjet printers.
      • Represented one of the world’s largest HVAC manufacturers in a class action alleging fraud arising out of the sale of allegedly defective furnaces.
      • Represented a toy manufacturer in a class action in New York alleging fraud and unfair trade practices arising out of the sale of allegedly defective children’s toys.
      • Represented a large pharmaceutical manufacturer in various class action lawsuits stemming from its manufacturing of various drugs.
      • Representing manufacturer in putative class actions in Connecticut and Illinois federal court involving alleged defects in consumer products.
      • Securities

      • Represented banking institution against class allegations that the bank artificially overstated earnings by under-reserving for real estate losses.
      • Represented manufacturer against class securities fraud claims that company fraudulently misrepresented business prospects in order to attract and maintain investors.
      • Co-counsel for public company and certain officers and directors in consolidated class action in Connecticut federal court involving alleged securities violations. Case involved large-scale collection, review and production of millions of pages of electronic documents, in which Robinson+Cole took the lead role.

      • Representing largest shareholders of public company as plaintiffs in putative class action involving one of the largest financial and securities frauds ever to occur.
      • Defended a managed care organization in 34 putative class actions in Connecticut federal court alleging that company made false and misleading statements with respect to its financial condition in its securities filings.
      • Represented board of directors and certain current and former officers of a public company in shareholder derivative action in Connecticut Superior Court alleging breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets and misappropriation of corporate information.
      • The firm represents a popular NASDAQ-listed Internet service provider in a class action pending in Connecticut Superior Court. There, the plaintiff alleges that he was deceived by the company while using its on-line service. The complaint alleges cause of action for a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
      • Business and Trade Regulation

      • Defended a class action brought by homeowners involving alleged damages sustained as a result of groundwater and indoor air contamination.
      • Successfully opposed an attempt to certify proposed nationwide class action brought by franchisees against franchisor alleging claims for, among other things, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract.
      • Represented major chemical manufacturer in antitrust class action relating to allegations of price-fixing in the rubber chemicals industry.
      • Defended hospitals against a consumer class action alleging that medical records billing policies and practices violated state regulatory law and unfair trade practices.
      • Defended a hospital that belonged to a multi-hospital trade association in a federal class action brought by the state office of protection and advocacy for disabled individuals on behalf of all deaf and hearing impaired citizens in the state. Complaint alleged violations of state constitutional law and federal civil rights.
      • Defended an action challenging insurance carrier’s business practices concerning its administration of one of its annuity products in Rhode Island Superior Court. The class consisted of members from 51 jurisdictions who purchased a particular type of annuity product from the insurer. The class members asserted claims for breach of contract, common law bad faith and also sought a declaratory judgment.
      • Defending putative class actions in Connecticut and Massachusetts alleging that company engaged in deceptive business practices in connection with the sale of services over the Internet.
      • Real Estate

      • Representation of a law firm in a class action regarding the firm's handling of a large share of foreclosures in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs sued three major mortgage lenders and their law firms for allegedly wrongful foreclosure practices arising out of assignments of mortgages. The potential class would have involved over 9,000 foreclosures from 2004 to 2008 and tens of millions of dollars in exposure. The US District Court of Massachusetts denied class certification by applying the United States Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and by ruling that there was no commonality because each individual foreclosure transaction would have to be examined in detail to determine whether there was liability. The court also found a lack of typicality, predominance, and superiority and specifically ruled that the law firms did not owe a legal duty to the mortgagors and were not engaged in the conduct of trade or commerce required for unfair business claims.
      • Consumer Financial Services

      • Representation of major regional bank in defending class action alleging assessment of improper late charges regarding open-ended credit agreements.
      • Other Experiences

      • Defending publicly traded Internet company against action brought in Connecticut federal court on behalf of putative national class action alleging claims under federal and state consumer protection statutes.
      • Defended a Connecticut municipality in a class action tax appeal challenging the legality of the revaluation of 2500 class members’ real property in a condominium development.
      • Successfully defended a manufacturer of nutritional supplements against a proposed nationwide consumer product class action brought in California state court. The manufacturer, which distributes its product worldwide, was facing claims based on allegations that included product mislabeling and unfair trade practices, as well as violations of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and California-specific causes of action. We aggressively litigated the case in the early stages, and prior to any discovery production by the defendant or any depositions being conducted, the plaintiff agreed to a voluntarily dismissal with prejudice without any payment from the defendant.

      • back to top
    • News
      • March 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized in JD Supra’s 2016 Readers Choice Awards

        • » more info
      • February 19, 2016

        Stephen E. Goldman Elected Robinson+Cole Managing Partner

        • » more info
        • View article
      • November 3, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Recognized in Benchmark Litigation 2016

        • » more info
        • View article
      • October 30, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Recognized by Benchmark Litigation

      • October 21, 2013

        Super Lawyers® Names 61 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2013 List

        • » more info
        • View article
      • March 21, 2013

        U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, A Class Action Fairness Act Case

        • » more info
      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

        • » more info
        • View article
      • February 1, 2012

        Environmental Partner Chairs ABA Panel on Environmental Class Actions

        • » more info
      • December 29, 2011

        Wystan Ackerman Authors Book Chapter on Defending Products Liability Class Actions

        • » more info
      • December 14, 2011

        “Insurance Class Actions Insider” Recognized as a Top Blawg

        • » more info
      • September 1, 2011

        In Wake of Hurricane Irene: Five Tips for Insurance Carriers

        • » more info
      • May 9, 2011

        Insurance Class Actions Blog Analyzes Impact of Recent Supreme Court Cases

        • » more info
      • April 6, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Quoted in Hartford Business Journal on Recently Announced Southern Connecticut Bancorp, Inc. Merger

        • » more info

Our Team