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Class Actions


Overview

Carlton Fields’ class action practice team of more than 70 lawyers handles complex class actions throughout the country, at every state and federal court level, including the United States Supreme Court. We have defended hundreds of high-exposure class actions across a range of substantive areas, including financial services, insurance, consumer fraud, health care, real estate, antitrust, securities, products liability, toxic tort, telecommunications, tax, construction, and employment. We are familiar with virtually every issue class actions present, including, the standards for class certification and strategies for defeating it, challenges to standing, jurisdiction and venue, removal, dismissal, summary judgment, arbitration, settlement administration, MDL proceedings, and joinder of parties.
 
Our firm also has a deep understanding of the legal doctrines and laws that have particular impact on the financial services and insurance industries, including the filed-rate and form doctrines, primary jurisdiction, the McCarran-Ferguson Act, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. Additionally, we regularly litigate removal and settlement issues related to the Class Action Fairness Act.
 
Early Case Assessment
 
The early evaluation of class action litigation is critical to efficient case planning as well as risk management.  Our class action attorneys work closely with our clients to assess not only the strengths and weaknesses of the case, but to craft a litigation plan to reduce exposure and identify a set of shared objectives.  

Tailored Strategies

For some clients, a vigorous challenge to class certification is critical. Others prefer strategic settlement. Still others wish us to try their cases and, if necessary, pursue appeals. In each situation, we help clients achieve their business objectives and litigation goals.
 
Case Management

We are frequently retained to manage or coordinate a client’s overall institutional response to multiple jurisdiction, parallel class actions, or multidistrict litigation. The skills of our class action team are supplemented by our firsthand knowledge of the risks peculiar to various jurisdictions and our significant experience in selecting and teaming with local trial counsel as appropriate.
 
Firmwide Resources

Our national class action defense practice team works closely with firm colleagues who focus on particular issues that arise in class action lawsuit defense. For example, they collaborate with our e-discovery team to formulate cutting-edge strategies that address the growing challenges raised by electronically stored information. They also receive crucial support from the firm’s appellate lawyers, who work alongside them before and during trial to develop the best possible record, and, if necessary, to prevail on appeal. 
 
Thought Leadership

  • The firm conducts and publishes an annual National Class Action Survey, which details best practices for reducing class action costs and managing their risks. The survey draws on more than 300 in-depth interviews each year with general counsel and senior legal officers at leading companies of every size.
 
  • Our class action lawyers contribute frequent posts to our blog, “Classified,” which features case summaries and links to class action-related news.
 
  • We write and speak often on class action defense issues and trends, and have presented to clients and counsel across North America.

Experience


Carlton Fields has litigated and counseled clients in hundreds of class actions for more than 30 years in federal and state courts across the nation.
 
Search our interactive Class Actions Experience Map by region, federal courts, state courts, keyword and industry.
Class Actions Experience Map

All Insights

SEC Regulation Best Interest: Charting a Course for Securities and Annuity Sales

SEC Regulation Best Interest: Charting a Course for Securities and Annuity Sales

September 5, 2018

In June, we circulated our fifth article on the continuing saga regarding the standard of conduct for sales of securities and annuities — and the efforts of federal and state regulators to impose new conditions on the existing standards. Our earlier articles focused on the potential for regulatory and litigation issues arising under the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule adopted in 2016, which was struck down by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Seventh Circuit Approves Cy Pres Settlement

Seventh Circuit Approves Cy Pres Settlement

August 8, 2018

The case arose out of a million phone calls made to consumers throughout 2011 and 2012 in which people were offered a chance to go on a free cruise if they agreed to participate in a political survey.

Fourth Circuit Holds Plaintiffs Who Allege Identity Theft Have Standing to Sue Post-Data Breach, But What Does it Mean For Certification?

Fourth Circuit Holds Plaintiffs Who Allege Identity Theft Have Standing to Sue Post-Data Breach, But What Does it Mean For Certification?

July 9, 2018

The Fourth Circuit’s 2017 decision in Beck v. McDonald held that the mere fear of identity theft in the wake of a data breach was insufficient to confer Article III standing. Plaintiffs must do more. But how much more?

Are Administrative Fees and Costs a Benefit to the Class as a Whole? A Circuit Split Continues

Are Administrative Fees and Costs a Benefit to the Class as a Whole? A Circuit Split Continues

July 3, 2018

The Eighth Circuit’s deference to district courts in awarding attorney’s fees in these circumstances is in line with the approach taken by the Ninth Circuit.

Win for MassMutual in Rare Class Action Trial

Win for MassMutual in Rare Class Action Trial

June 25, 2018

A California jury recently returned a verdict in favor of MassMutual following a 12-day trial in a state-court class action that claimed the insurer failed to pay dividends owed to policy owners.

SEC Regulation Best Interest: Charting a Course for Securities and Annuity Sales, Avoiding Collision and Potential Regulatory and Litigation Issues

SEC Regulation Best Interest: Charting a Course for Securities and Annuity Sales, Avoiding Collision and Potential Regulatory and Litigation Issues

June 12, 2018

During the past two years, we have written about potential litigation arising under the Department of Labor’s, first proposed, then adopted fiduciary rule. This article is the first of several we will write on the potential impact of these events on the recommendation and sale of securities generally, with particular emphasis on insurance company annuities.

Put This in Your Pipe: Supreme Court Rules 9-0 That American Pipe Tolling Does Not Permit Filing of Serial Class Actions Beyond the Statute of Limitations

Put This in Your Pipe: Supreme Court Rules 9-0 That American Pipe Tolling Does Not Permit Filing of Serial Class Actions Beyond the Statute of Limitations

June 12, 2018

As we previously reported, last year the Ninth Circuit in Resh v. China Agritech, Inc., No. 15-55432, 2017 WL 2261024 (9th Cir. May 24, 2017), joined a circuit split when it held that the statute of limitations did not bar a third successive putative class action alleging securities fraud claims against a fertilizer manufacturer.

In Crypto Litigations Mandatory Arbitration Agreements May Not be Immutable

In Crypto Litigations Mandatory Arbitration Agreements May Not be Immutable

June 4, 2018

Permissionless blockchains, like the one underlying the bitcoin payment network, were created to provide the public with transparency over transaction information and records. Attorneys draft arbitration clauses primarily to do the opposite.

Food for Thought: A Review of 2017 Litigation

Food for Thought: A Review of 2017 Litigation

May 25, 2018

Food for Thought is a review of significant court decisions affecting the food, beverage, dietary supplements and personal care products industry. Although many cases in this edition focus on class certification, others relate to summary judgment.

Food for Thought: Under California Law, Individual Class Members Need Not Show Reliance on Allegedly Misleading Statements at Time of Purchase

Food for Thought: Under California Law, Individual Class Members Need Not Show Reliance on Allegedly Misleading Statements at Time of Purchase

May 18, 2018

In its latest opinion addressing class action claims related to allegedly misleading labels, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal held that individual class members need not show they relied on allegedly misleading statements for a proposed class action against supplement manufacturer Pharmavite LLC to proceed.

Fifth Circuit Dashes Delivery Driver’s Bid to Keep Wage Hour Claims Out of Arbitration

Fifth Circuit Dashes Delivery Driver’s Bid to Keep Wage Hour Claims Out of Arbitration

May 8, 2018

In Edwards v. DoorDash, Inc., the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its position that arbitrability of claims is a threshold question that must be determined by the court prior to deciding certification motions.

Food for Thought: Starbucks Defeats Icy Class Action

Food for Thought: Starbucks Defeats Icy Class Action

March 27, 2018

The lead plaintiff alleged that Starbucks’ method of preparing its iced beverages deceives its customers by misrepresenting the amount of liquid a customer receives when he or she orders an iced drink.

Cyan Makes SLUSA Removal Proponents Feel Blue: Supreme Court Holds That Securities Act of 1933 Class Actions Can Stay in State Court

Cyan Makes SLUSA Removal Proponents Feel Blue: Supreme Court Holds That Securities Act of 1933 Class Actions Can Stay in State Court

March 22, 2018

Cyan sets – and limits – the legacy of SLUSA as affixing the federal substantive standard to class actions for securities wrongdoing against issuers and their officers and directors.

Recent Developments in Securities Class Actions and Companies' Disclosure Obligations Regarding Cybersecurity Risks and Events

Recent Developments in Securities Class Actions and Companies' Disclosure Obligations Regarding Cybersecurity Risks and Events

March 8, 2018

Some recent events may encourage shareholder attorneys to pursue securities fraud class actions after disclosure of a cyber incident leads to a drop in the stock price.

Food for Thought: For the Second Time, California Federal Court Declines to Certify Class Action Against Baby Food Manufacturer

Food for Thought: For the Second Time, California Federal Court Declines to Certify Class Action Against Baby Food Manufacturer

February 13, 2018

Plaintiff alleged that defendant violated federal and state law by making false and misleading claims on food labels.

Third Time Is the Charm: Class Certified in DMF-Related Shareholder Suit

Third Time Is the Charm: Class Certified in DMF-Related Shareholder Suit

December 29, 2017

In City of Westland Police & Fire Retirement System v. MetLife, the plaintiffs allege that the insurer overstated its earnings because it did not hold sufficient reserves for death benefit claims on group life insurance policies that were incurred but not reported.

Food for Thought: Liability-Only Class Certification Denied for Claims That “No Sugar Added” Juice Labels Misled Consumers Into Thinking the Juice Had Fewer Calories

Food for Thought: Liability-Only Class Certification Denied for Claims That “No Sugar Added” Juice Labels Misled Consumers Into Thinking the Juice Had Fewer Calories

October 16, 2017

Plaintiff’s putative class action alleged that defendant Mott’s violated FDA regulations and California’s Sherman Law and Unfair Competition Law when it labeled and sold its 100 percent apple juice with the label “No Sugar Added,” which plaintiff claimed misled consumers into thinking the juice had fewer calories than its competitors.

Food for Thought: Summary Judgment Affirmed in False ‘GMO’ Advertising Class Action Against Chipotle

Food for Thought: Summary Judgment Affirmed in False ‘GMO’ Advertising Class Action Against Chipotle

October 4, 2017

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of defendant,

ANZ Securities and Opting Out of Securities Fraud Class Actions

ANZ Securities and Opting Out of Securities Fraud Class Actions

September 25, 2017

The most likely class member to "opt-out" of a securities fraud class is an institutional investor. A recent Supreme Court case may force institutional investors and others to opt out sooner.

The War Between PAGA and Arbitration in California Continues - This Time Employers Win

The War Between PAGA and Arbitration in California Continues - This Time Employers Win

August 4, 2017

This decision reinforces the importance of employers utilizing arbitration agreements coupled with class action waivers in their employment agreements.

Food for Thought: How Sweet it Is…for Plaintiff Bringing Class Action Against Baby Food Manufacturer

Food for Thought: How Sweet it Is…for Plaintiff Bringing Class Action Against Baby Food Manufacturer

July 17, 2017

Plaintiff alleged that defendant violated federal and state law by making false and misleading claims on food labels, specifically, that certain baby food products included claims about sugar and nutrient content that were not permitted under Food and Drug Administration regulations incorporated into California law.

Unanimous California Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Plaintiffs to Discover Employee Contact Information

Unanimous California Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Plaintiffs to Discover Employee Contact Information

July 13, 2017

In a big blow to employers, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that plaintiffs and their lawyers must be given access to companywide employee contact information—including addresses and phone numbers—at the onset of a lawsuit and without first establishing a prima facie showing their case has merit.

Collateral Attacks on Class Resolutions

Collateral Attacks on Class Resolutions

July 1, 2017

Practitioners should take precautions to protect their clients’ class action resolutions from collateral attack in the courts that allow a more probing due process review.

Insurers and Brokers May Face UCL Liability for Violations of Insurance Statutes

Insurers and Brokers May Face UCL Liability for Violations of Insurance Statutes

July 1, 2017

The opinion was a beacon of hope for insurers and brokers doing business in California who often face disappointing early rulings and frequently settle.

Recent Ninth Circuit Rulings Uphold Plaintiffs’ Efforts to Predicate Claims on Alleged Insurance Code Violations — Likely More to Come

Recent Ninth Circuit Rulings Uphold Plaintiffs’ Efforts to Predicate Claims on Alleged Insurance Code Violations — Likely More to Come

June 23, 2017

Recent rulings suggest insurers face increased risk of suits predicating breach of contract and state unfair trade practices claims on alleged violation of state insurance laws, notwithstanding the lack of an express private right of action.

Summary Judgment for Insurer in Annuity Sales Practices Action

Summary Judgment for Insurer in Annuity Sales Practices Action

June 23, 2017

Like many of the bonus annuity class actions brought in the mid-2000s, the plaintiff in Chambers claimed that the insurer misrepresented the terms of the bonus, that there were no "sales fees," and that the interest adjustment applied to partial surrenders.

Ninth Circuit Expands American Pipe Tolling to Subsequent Securities Class Action by Unnamed Class Members, but Leaves Related Comity and Issue Preclusion Questions for Another Day

Ninth Circuit Expands American Pipe Tolling to Subsequent Securities Class Action by Unnamed Class Members, but Leaves Related Comity and Issue Preclusion Questions for Another Day

May 30, 2017

The Ninth Circuit expanded the American Pipe tolling rule (as further expanded by Crown Cork) to allow the individual claims of unnamed class members in a previously dismissed action to proceed as a subsequently filed class action, albeit with two important caveats.

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of "Shadow Insurance" Lawsuits

April 10, 2017

The suits were two of several class actions that arose in the wake of a 2013 investigation by the New York Department of Financial Services into certain captive reinsurance transactions

The Ninth Circuit Finds California’s Illustration Statutes Can Serve as the Predicate for UCL Liability

The Ninth Circuit Finds California’s Illustration Statutes Can Serve as the Predicate for UCL Liability

April 10, 2017

On March 3, the Ninth Circuit in Walker v. Life Ins. Co. of the SW, ruled that an alleged violation of California’s life insurance illustration statutes could serve as a predicate for liability under the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL).

11th Circuit Finds Skim Milk Labeling Restriction Violated Dairy Farm’s First Amendment Rights

11th Circuit Finds Skim Milk Labeling Restriction Violated Dairy Farm’s First Amendment Rights

April 5, 2017

Florida law prohibits dairy producers from labeling milk products “skim milk” unless the product has been artificially refortified with the vitamins it lost during the skimming process. This prohibition was challenged to Florida’s Northern District Court by a small dairy farm on the grounds that the regulation violated the First Amendment.

As Class Action Spending Continues to Climb, Companies Manage Greater Risks

As Class Action Spending Continues to Climb, Companies Manage Greater Risks

April 4, 2017

Class action spending by companies across industries increased for the second consecutive year, reversing a downward trend that occurred between 2011 and 2014.

Surprising Findings On The Latest Class Action Litigation Trends

Surprising Findings On The Latest Class Action Litigation Trends

March 6, 2017

Class action spending is up for the second consecutive year, marking the reversal of a downward trend that occurred between 2011 and 2014. Across industries, companies spent $2.17 billion on class action lawsuits in 2016

Food for Thought: A Review of 2016 Litigation

Food for Thought: A Review of 2016 Litigation

February 17, 2017

A federal judge in California declined to dismiss a (renewed) proposed class action case against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., accusing the company of violating consumer protection laws in California, Florida, Maryland, and New York by deceptively advertising that its menu no longer contained GMOs.

“Concrete” Disparities in Article III Case Law after <i>Spokeo</i>

“Concrete” Disparities in Article III Case Law after Spokeo

January 31, 2017

When is an intangible injury, such as an unlawful disclosure or an invasion of privacy, “concrete” for purposes of establishing Article III standing? The question has been fiercely debated since the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016).

Hacking the Short Hearing

Hacking the Short Hearing

January 27, 2017

Every litigator has encountered it—the dreaded hearing set for ten minutes or less. The necessary implication of such hearings is that you will have only half that time to present your argument and win over the judge, and perhaps even less time than that depending on the number of parties involved.

State Law Prohibiting Class Actions Does Not Preclude Court From Maintaining Certification and Approving Settlement Agreement

State Law Prohibiting Class Actions Does Not Preclude Court From Maintaining Certification and Approving Settlement Agreement

January 6, 2017

The Sixth Circuit recently affirmed approval of a class action settlement agreement, holding that “a post-settlement change in the law does not alter the binding nature of the parties’ settlement agreement, nor does it violate Rule 23 . . . or the Rules Enabling Act.”

Spokeo Gets Lyft Off

Spokeo Gets Lyft Off

November 4, 2016

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Gary L. Sasso

Gary L. Sasso

President and Chief Executive Officer

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The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.