Class Action Defense

Numerous cases are making their way through the courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, with the potential to fundamentally change the strategies employed to fight class actions. The financial and reputational stakes of fighting and defeating a class action are only growing, as is the need to engage a smart, strategic team with the experience to traverse this evolving landscape.

Key Contacts

Melissa A. Jones Partner Sacramento, CA
Vanessa Soriano Power Partner Seattle, WA
Brad S. Daniels Partner Portland, OR
See all contacts
Overview

We have a deep bench of trial attorneys with extensive experience in all aspects of class action practice—from removal and motions to dismiss to class certification, discovery, trial and appeal. We’ve successfully resolved cases at all stages and are equally comfortable serving as national coordinating counsel or regional counsel on multi-state class action cases. In all instances, you’ll have a team that understands the best strategy and arguments, is familiar with your specific business or industry issues, and can employ the project management and expert resources necessary to develop and present your defense.

We’ve defended class action claims for a wide variety of businesses including financial services, agribusiness, utilities, telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, retail, pharmaceuticals and franchising.

We’ve successfully resolved class action claims pertaining to:

  • Unfair trade practices, unfair competition and related consumer claims including California’s Unfair Competition Law (Section 17200)
  • Securities fraud, insider trading and related shareholder claims
  • Products liability
  • ERISA
  • Wage and hour law
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Contract validity
  • Toxic torts
  • RICO
  • Franchisee disputes
  • Ratepayer claims 

We understand that early resolution of class actions is key. We use effective strategies to remove or change venue, consolidate actions, move to dismiss and attack all elements of class certification. If a case continues to trial we collaborate with you in creating a right-sized team with the requisite experience to achieve a successful result. At every stage we engage technology and project management resources to maximize efficiency and communication with you and other parties involved with your representation.

Matters

General

  • Serve as lead counsel for Monsanto Company in multiple class actions filed in numerous states arising out of the discovery of genetically modified wheat on a single Oregon farm. These cases have been consolidated as MDL No. 2473 in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. The cases sound in negligence and contend that the release of genetically modified wheat into commercial wheat channels has damaged the worldwide market for U.S. wheat and harmed U.S. farmers.
  • Represented ATS Traffic Solutions, Inc., the country's largest provider of traffic safety cameras, in connection with a Washington state-wide class action challenge to the validity of ATS's contracts with its municipal customers, in which the amount of the fine for red-light tickets was also at issue. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the case, finding ATS's contracts valid and the fine amount unlawful. When the citizens of local cities in Washington tried to ban red-light cameras through the initiative process, Stoel went to court for ATS, successfully bringing pre-election challenges to the initiatives.
  • Successfully represented American Financial Solutions and North Seattle Community College Foundation in a purported nationwide class action against several major participants in the credit counseling industry. The district court dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety.
  • Counsel to Health Net Health Plan of Oregon in a state-wide ERISA class action alleging violations of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act. The case is the first of its kind anywhere in the country and involves issues of class certification, standing, and health care law and policy.

Consumer Protection and Trade Regulation

  • Served as lead counsel for Darigold, Inc., and the Northwest Dairy Association in a consumer class action filed in the Northern District of California alleging violations of the CLRA and UCL. This was an important case for our clients  because it was part of a global United Farm Worker organizing campaign.
  • Represented Red Robin International, Inc., in a consumer class action alleging the client's gift policy violated California consumer protection laws.
  • We represented Innovation Ventures LLC and Living Essentials, LLC,—the manufacturer of the 5-hour ENERGY drink—in a price discrimination and unfair competition class action filed in the Northern District of California.
  • Representing GCI, an Alaska cable television company, in a class action brought by four of its customers claiming that GCI failed to provide a level of service consistent with the promises it had made.
  • Serve as lead counsel to WMS Gaming, Inc., on a putative class action pending in Oregon state court. The lawsuit alleges that the Oregon State Lottery, together with video poker game manufacturers including WMS, misled consumers as to the odds of winning video poker. The lawsuit seeks over $134 million in damages for putative class members. The case was dismissed in WMS's favor on a motion to dismiss, and an appeal is pending.
  • Represent a subsidiary of BP America, Inc., in a class action relating to the advertising of gasoline prices in Oregon. Plaintiffs alleged that BP West Coast Products, LLC, violated the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act when it did not disclose a separately charged debit card fee on ARCO street signs.

Securities and Corporate Governance

  • Representing Galena Biopharma, Inc., a publicly owned pharmaceutical company, and certain of its officers and directors in a securities class action alleging a scheme to manipulate the price of the issuer's stock by retaining public relations firms to publish articles promoting the company and its products.
  • Representing Precision Castparts Corp. in numerous consolidated class actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty arising out of Precision’s $37 billion merger with Berkshire Hathaway.
  • Represented Mentor Graphics and its board in connection with a class action filed by shareholders challenging board reaction to Carl Icahn's conditional proposal to purchase Mentor Graphics stock.

Employment

  • Represented ITT Corporation in claims for unpaid work by employees working in a foreign country. Plaintiffs' motion to certify a class action was granted. Following a permissive appeal the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the certification decision and remanded the case back to the trial court. This international case involves claims by workers under Kuwaiti law.
  • Successfully represented Goldendale Aluminum Company in a purported class action alleging that the company's officers and directors breached their duties as fiduciaries and cofiduciaries within the meaning of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). After receiving the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint as a matter of law and engaging in limited discovery, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the complaint voluntarily.

Insurance

  • Served as lead counsel in a putative class action alleging that an insurer's direct repair program violates its insurance policy with the insured, and that its disclosures concerning the same are insufficient under state law. The action seeks repair damages and statutory damages for Oregon policyholders. A summary judgment motion is pending.
  • Successfully represented State Farm Insurance companies in a purported nationwide class action by insureds who supposedly were not compensated under their underinsured motorist coverage for diminution of value after their cars were damaged.
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