Morgan Lewis is a leader in defending class actions in federal and state courts throughout the United States. We have the experience, geographic footprint, and substantive and industry know-how to protect our clients in high-stakes class action litigation. Leveraging our litigators’ command of all areas susceptible to class actions—antitrust, consumer, employment, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), privacy/data breach, product liability, toxic torts, and securities—we have secured groundbreaking results while reshaping class action procedure. Our class action team has experience across all industries, including life sciences, financial services, healthcare, retail, technology, automotive, energy, and consumer products, and often handles bet-the-company cases.
Our team was recognized as one of three class action “Powerhouses” by BTI Consulting Group in its Litigation Outlook Report 2015. This recent listing follows recognition as a “Class Action Practice Group of the Year” in the United States by Law360 (2013–2015), among other accolades.
Class action litigation often accompanies government investigations and other litigation. In those instances, we often work with other Morgan Lewis team members to provide a single solution for a client facing a multifaceted challenge. In other instances, we will work in virtual law firms to coordinate with other counsel serving our clients. In either situation, we recognize that multidimensional litigation can present a serious threat to our clients’ relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, employees, and regulators. We strive to keep our clients’ business objectives at the forefront, and we recognize that our goal is not only to achieve a successful outcome in the courtroom, but to do so in a way that advances our clients’ business objectives.
In the last decade, Morgan Lewis lawyers have represented corporate defendants in scores of antitrust class actions—more than almost any other law firm in the United States. The advantage to our clients: We bring a wealth of experience that sharpens strategy and creates efficiency. Our class action lawyers litigate virtually every issue arising in these types of cases. We have had substantial success in limiting or eliminating cases at the pleading stage, through class certification, and after discovery.
For nearly three decades, defending consumer class actions has been a strength of the firm’s class action team. Our consumer class action lawyers handle class action matters throughout the United States, including in the most prevalent jurisdictions. We have had considerable success securing dismissals of these actions and/or defeating class certification. These include cases involving advertising, pricing, marketing, telemarketing (including alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act), labeling, privacy, truth in lending, warranties, and allegations of failure to disclose and off-label promotion.
The public, the government, and the plaintiffs’ bar are increasingly focused on privacy issues—particularly the theft of consumer and employee data. Morgan Lewis is a leader in representing clients in data privacy lawsuits. We defend companies in the healthcare, retail, and financial services industries in privacy-related class actions alleging claims based on Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) violations, data breaches and theft of data, and technology and software transfer issues, as well as in regulatory and code of conduct proceedings. Our class action team also works closely with our transactional privacy team to counsel clients involved in incidents of data privacy breach. This includes determining whether notification is required, conducting the notification, containing exposure, and implementing remedial measures.
Employee benefit plans are the largest sources of equity capital and undisclosed corporate liabilities in the world. Increasingly, sophisticated plaintiffs’ class action lawyers are targeting these plans, their employer sponsors, and their fiduciaries in ambitious lawsuits. Our substantive understanding of ERISA and other employee benefits law (and the overlapping fields of labor, employment, securities, healthcare, and insurance law), combined with the talents of our skilled class action litigators and trial lawyers, is key to a company’s defense. We practice extensively on behalf of plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and service providers.
Representing companies across the financial services industry, Morgan Lewis lawyers defend class action claims involving a range of consumer financial products and services, including mortgages, credit cards, and retail banking. We defend banks and other financial institutions in claims alleging violations of significant US federal and state consumer protection statutes, including:
Our clients include mortgage companies, retail and consumer banks, and credit card companies. When protecting the interests of financial services clients, our litigators identify weaknesses in the plaintiffs’ cases and work to defeat the class certification.
We also defend financial services companies facing labor and employment class action lawsuits in the United States, including nationwide gender discrimination class actions brought against national securities firms; nationwide collective actions brought against major financial institutions alleging misclassification of employees as overtime exempt; and a class action against a major securities firm where former employees alleged age discrimination.
Life sciences and healthcare companies—including pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and insurers—are increasingly frequent targets of class action lawsuits, given the nationwide interest in the US healthcare system. Our class action lawyers are at the forefront of defending companies in the life sciences and healthcare industry against class action claims.
We regularly defend pharmaceutical and medical device companies in class actions, including actions challenging promotional and marketing practices. And we have secured remarkable outcomes and created law that favors manufacturers.
We represent some of the nation’s largest health insurers in class actions involving areas of healthcare litigation, including emerging areas under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
For decades, Morgan Lewis has successfully represented clients in product liability and mass tort class actions and multidistrict matters. We also frequently serve as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel in large-scale serial litigation. Our experience includes matters involving asbestos, breast implants, building and construction products, chemicals, flavoring ingredients and additives, food and beverages, lead, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, safety equipment, silica, tobacco, and water contamination.
We have handled thousands of cases on behalf of retail clients in almost every US state. We defend companies in cases brought by both private parties and government attorneys, and we succeed even in challenging venues, such as California. Our retail class action practice concentrates on alleged false advertising, privacy claims, gift card litigation, and product liability cases. We were retained in one of the earliest cases brought under the FACTA, and we have successfully litigated or settled many of these matters. We have also successfully represented retailers in class actions alleging violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act. Morgan Lewis is one of the few firms that have successfully taken consumer class actions to trial for retailers.
Law360 recognized Morgan Lewis as the “Securities Practice Group of the Year” in the United States (2012). Our clients include issuers and their officers and directors, underwriters, and accountants, and our cases have included claims arising out of restatements or other accounting issues, initial public offerings, earnings warnings, and failures to meet projections.
We frequently obtain dismissals or favorable settlements of cases, minimizing the cost of protracted litigation and the distraction to management. For instance, of the motions to dismiss filed by Morgan Lewis in putative class actions, approximately 82% that have been ruled upon by courts have been granted in whole or in part, with approximately 47% granted in their entirety. In derivative class action lawsuits, the firm’s securities litigators have managed to secure dismissal in more than half of the cases we argued.
Bet-the-company class action and systemic employment litigation can erupt from a single employee dispute, charge, or internal complaint. Our lawyers proactively identify risk factors and strategies to help employers avoid multiplaintiff, class, collective, and US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) actions. When a lawsuit is filed, we can mobilize a team of litigators with experience analyzing data, managing discovery, handling experts, opposing class certification, filing complex dispositive motions, developing creative approaches to settlement, and, when necessary, trying cases.
Our approach is dictated by our clients’ business objectives, whether that means aggressively defending a matter to conclusion or negotiating an early resolution and avoiding protracted litigation. Deep knowledge of the theories and expert issues advanced in systemic litigation helps shape our litigation strategy. We maintain professional relationships with officials at the highest levels within the EEOC, US Department of Labor (DOL), and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). This rapport proves invaluable in high-stakes matters.
Morgan Lewis lawyers frequently litigate against prominent plaintiff-side employment class action lawyers, and we develop professional relationships with them that foster efficient solutions for our clients. Our systemic employment litigation team works with labor economists, statisticians, human resources experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts to support the defense of systemic matters, and we are familiar with the expert witnesses whom plaintiffs often use in class action employment litigation.