Class Action Defense

Overview                                                                                                                                                                                        

Robinson+Cole's Class Action Team has defended dozens of class actions in myriad substantive areas, including insurance and financial services, data breach/privacy, product liability, heath care, employment, sales practices, and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases. We have served as lead national counsel in class actions across the country, including cases in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas. In a high-profile case, our 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. 

Our Services

Our mastery of class action law, combined with our command of related industries, has enabled us to develop innovative strategies for defending class actions and to efficiently achieve strong results for our clients, such as the following:

• obtaining dismissal on an early dispositive motion, prior to commencement of discovery

• prevailing on an early motion to strike class allegations

• persuading plaintiffs and their counsel to settle a putative class action on an individual basis

• defeating plaintiffs' motion for class certification

• negotiating and obtaining court approval of a class settlement on terms favorable to our client

Our Team

Bringing the right lawyers to the table from day one allows the Class Action Team to skillfully develop innovative case strategies. Class actions are typically staffed with lawyers experienced in  substantial class action matters as well as in the relevant industry and substantive law. In addition, Robinson+Cole lawyers have significant trial experience. Our lawyers who handle health care-related class actions are proficient in 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. Product liability class actions are staffed with lawyers who regularly try product liability cases. Our data breach/privacy class action team members closely follow developments in that rapidly evolving area of law. 

    • Experience
      • Knowles v. Standard Fire Insurance Company 133 S. Ct. 1345 (Supreme Court of the United States, 2013)— 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 the federal court jurisdiction could not be defeated by such a stipulation. The underlying case involved the alleged failure to pay the 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.

      • Data Breach/Privacy

      • Defended a hospital in a putative class action arising from an alleged data breach. Successfully obtained a decision granting summary judgment in favor of our client based on lack of standing.

      • Employment and Employee Benefits

      • Served as lead counsel for the State of Connecticut in a class action brought against the state 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 million 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, not the state.

      • Defended employer in putative class action in Connecticut federal court alleging that employees were incorrectly categorized as exempt employees and seeking to recover overtime payments.

      • Health Care/Managed Care Organizations

      • Defended a hospital in a putative class action arising from an alleged data breach. Successfully obtained a decision granting summary judgment in favor of our client based on lack of standing.

      • Defended a hospital in a putative class action alleging improper use of insulin injection pens.

      • Defended a managed care organization against a member class action (100,000-plus 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 the 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 anticompetitive conduct, including violations of antitrust and unfair trade practice statutes.

      • Insurance

      • Successfully represented insurer in a series of putative class actions in six different jurisdictions involving market conduct/claim-handling practices. All were resolved either on a dispositive motion or by settlement of the class representative's individual claims. Successfully conducted a three-day evidentiary hearing on class certification in a Florida state court, which resulted in a decision denying class certification that was affirmed on appeal. 

      • Successfully represented insurer in putative class action in Arkansas federal court alleging improper depreciation of labor costs on property insurance claims. After completion of depositions, case resulted in a voluntary dismissal with prejudice by the plaintiffs with no payment by our client.

      • Successfully represented insurer in putative class action in the Northern District of Florida involving allegations that the insurer overcharged for building ordinance and law coverage and failed to comply with a Florida statute. The district court granted our motion to dismiss, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

      • Successfully represented insurer in putative class action in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan alleging that insurer improperly failed to apply the “made whole” doctrine with respect to subrogation recoveries. The trial court granted our motion to dismiss, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed, and the New York Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal.

      • Manufacturing/Product Liability

      • Successfully represented defendant in the Supreme Court of the United States (lead counsel on petition for certiorari and co-counsel on merits) in Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, 133 S. Ct. 1345 (2013) (invalidating stipulation by named plaintiff attempting to limit amount in controversy to below $5 million to evade federal jurisdiction).

      • 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.

      • Defending Fortune 50 manufacturer in putative nationwide/multistate class action involving alleged defect in microwave ovens. Successfully obtained dismissal of certain causes of action on a motion to dismiss.

      • Defended Fortune 50 manufacturer in putative statewide class action involving alleged defect in microwave ovens. Successfully obtained dismissal of unjust enrichment claim on motion to dismiss. Following completion of limited discovery, plaintiff and his counsel were persuaded to resolve the case on an individual basis.

      • Defending Fortune 50 manufacturer in putative multistate class action alleging that certain baby care and skin care products were improperly represented on product labeling and marketing as “ natural.”

      • Defended a leading manufacturer of baby products in putative multistate class actions in Connecticut and Illinois federal courts alleging defects in baby bottles. Successfully obtained dismissal of certain causes of action in both cases on motions to dismiss. Following completion of limited discovery, both cases were resolved on an individual basis.

      • Represented a pet products manufacturer in connection with two threatened nationwide class actions in Florida and California. After completing internal and external due diligence, the claims were resolved on an individual basis prior to the suits being filed.

      • Represented a cosmetics manufacturer in connection with a threatened class action in California. After our client took remedial measures to moot any class claims, the plaintiff’s counsel abandoned the case before the suit was filed.

      • Real Estate

      • Successfully represented 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 U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied class certification.

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