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Class Action Defense

Montgomery McCracken’s Class Action Defense Practice is a core strength of the firm. We have extensive experience representing defendants in class actions throughout the United States.

Our clients range from consumer reporting agencies to manufacturers and sellers of pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, commercial and residential construction materials, household appliances, electronics, computer software and hardware and gaming devices.

Defending consumer class actions is a particular strengths of our practice. We have defeated class certification or obtained dismissal in a wide range of cases throughout the country. This experience has given us strong insights into how best to defend consumer class actions, both substantively and cost-effectively. We formulate strategies early in the case, particularly when handling a multijurisdictional set of cases filed in several venues, to avoid duplicative efforts, control litigation expense and distraction and avoid potentially conflicting rulings.

Selected Cases

Consumer Protection

We obtained a widely cited decision from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania shifting to plaintiffs the cost to comply with class certification discovery. The case was a consumer class action challenging LA Fitness’s cancellation procedures. A leading class action blog called it one of the top 10 class action decisions of 2012.

We represented Tommy Hilfiger USA, Inc. in a nationwide class action involving claims brought under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. The district court granted our motion to dismiss and the Third Circuit affirmed.

We represented Subway, Cosi and Lifetime Brands in class actions in federal court in Pennsylvania that alleged unlawful inclusion of credit card account information on retail receipts in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. These cases were variously dismissed or settled favorably, avoiding contested class certification proceedings in each.

In Hayes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., we obtained a published decision from the Third Circuit that vacated the district court’s order certifying a class and that tightened certification requirements. Following the Third Circuit’s decision, we moved for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s individual claims, which the district court granted.

We have represented Microsoft in class actions throughout the United States since 1993, and have defeated class certification or secured dismissal in dozens of cases. We have convinced courts to deny certification because individual issues predominated, the proposed class representatives were inadequate, or the claims asserted were not typical of those held by the class.

We defended a large pharmaceutical manufacturer in a New Jersey class action alleging that it overcharged customers many millions of dollars by misrepresenting the average wholesale prices at which its pharmaceuticals were sold.

We represented USAA in multidefendant litigation in federal court in Philadelphia in which the plaintiff alleged that insurers had failed to provide statutorily required discounts on auto insurance for anti-theft devices in class members’ cars. The case proceeded to a class certification hearing, after which it settled.

We represented a large nutritional supplement manufacturer, in nationwide class action litigation in the Eastern District of New York in which plaintiffs claimed that a dietary supplement’s label incorrectly disclosed a key ingredient.

Product Liability

We represent Titeflex Corporation, which manufactures flexible pipe used to convey natural gas in millions of homes and businesses, in class actions brought in several states. We have obtained orders from federal courts granting motions to dismiss in multiple cases and secured affirmance in the First Circuit of the only dismissal appealed.

We represented composite decking manufacturer Fiberon in a nationwide products liability class action alleging defects and asserting claims under various state consumer protection statutes.

We defended a major inkjet printer manufacturer against New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claims in New Jersey Superior Court. We moved to strike the plaintiff’s only evidence of an alleged defect, which was the report and testimony of his expert. Two months later, the plaintiff entered into a confidential settlement and voluntarily dismissed the case.

We defended an electrical utility against class action claims in the New Jersey Superior Court by real estate developers who were charged for the costs of utility pole relocations necessitated by their land developments.  We successfully moved to dismiss the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claims. The court denied plaintiffs’ motion for certification of their unjust enrichment claims, and the New Jersey Supreme Court denied review.

We are counsel to USAA in multiple cases pending in the Eastern District of New York arising out of purported damages sustained by homeowners during Hurricane Sandy. The Eastern District has consolidated all cases for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Antitrust

We represented a large communications company in the Southern District of New York in a suit alleging antitrust violations based on bid-rigging. We successfully obtained dismissal on motion, which the Second Circuit affirmed.

We represented one of the largest producers of wood building products in the United States in nationwide price-fixing class actions filed by direct and indirect purchasers in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. After hearings on strongly contested class certification motions, the Court convened separate settlement conferences with each defendant, in which we participated with national counsel to achieve a settlement.

We had principal responsibility representing Microsoft in class certification proceedings in indirect-purchaser antitrust cases pending in state courts throughout the country and federal multidistrict litigation in Baltimore. Our work included all aspects of fact development (written discovery, depositions, document production, witness interviews and preparation) and expert economics and computer-industry witnesses.

Financial Services

We represented a leading business credit-reporting service in a consumer class action in which plaintiffs alleged our client systematically charged a premium to customers for its credit builder services. We successfully obtained a denial of class certification and a grant of summary judgment.

We have represented JPMorgan entities in several class and individual actions since 2001, either as sole counsel or as local counsel. We defeated class certification and obtained summary judgment in one action alleging that banks were not properly handling unclaimed bond funds. Current cases involve defense of claims by bondholders of a hospital that went bankrupt and acting as local counsel in a consumer class action.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act

We represented Lucille Roberts Gym in the Southern District of New York in a class action brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. We settled the case on an individual basis after Lucille Roberts moved for summary judgment.

In Smith v. Microsoft, we won a denial of class certification in the Southern District of California in which a plaintiff alleged receiving an unsolicited text message.

For More Information

Please contact Charles B. Casper, chair, Class Action Defense practice, at 215-772-7223 or ccasper@mmwr.com.