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Practice

Class Actions

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A Unique Class Actions Practice

Our team has leading experience defending complex class action litigation—and delivering successful results. We also counsel our clients on risk management issues to help them minimize their exposure to potential class action litigation.

As an initial step in any litigation assignment, we develop a deep understanding of the client’s operations and priorities, the regulatory and business environment in which it operates, and the impact of the litigation on its business. We are interested in the client’s litigation objectives, and stay focused on the costs and benefits of litigation decisions. Our policy is that the client should never be surprised or confused about the nature, extent, or cost of the legal services we provide. We recognize that many cases settle and that settlement at the right time may be the preferred way to achieve business objectives. Litigation is expensive, and sophisticated clients approach the decision to litigate as they do any major business decision—by weighing risks, benefits and costs. Since the opportunity to reach settlement sometimes becomes more difficult as litigation progresses, we explore dispute resolution possibilities very early in litigation.

Our attorneys are first and foremost trial attorneys who are comfortable in the courtroom and in front of a jury. If we cannot effect an early resolution of the matter, the most cost-effective approach is to assume at the outset that the matter will proceed to trial, and we defend or prosecute the case with that assumption in mind. Every case ultimately devolves into one to three (rarely more) “themes” that guide the defense or prosecution of the matter at trial. We develop these themes as early as possible; we then tailor our discovery plan, our expert witness selection, and our pretrial decisions based on them.

  • Top 10 in Global Investigation Review's GIR Top 100

Our Approach to Class Action Litigation

  • Our team has leading experience defending complex class action litigation—and delivering successful results. We also counsel our clients on risk management issues to help them minimize their exposure to potential class action litigation.

  • Our clients include financial institutions, retail stores, insurance companies, mortgage lending companies, telecommunications organizations, aerospace companies, healthcare organizations, and professional services firms.

  • To deliver results most efficiently, we utilize alternative dispute resolution practices when appropriate, and leverage technology and knowledge management resources to streamline the case management process.

  • Ranked in Global Arbitration Review's GAR Top 30

Client Successes

  • After four and half years of litigation on behalf of Andersen Corporation, a leading manufacturer of window and door products, we successfully defeated class certification of unfair competition and breach of warranty claims. Earlier in the case, our team defeated Plaintiff’s attempt to certify a nationwide class of all product purchasers over a 20-year period. After briefing on appeal, Plaintiff agreed to dismiss the appeal and dismiss the case with prejudice. The case implicated Andersen’s major product lines and claimed damages were in excess of $40 million.

  • We represented the development entity (Mission Street Development LLC) in resolution of the most complex construction defect litigation matters in California history, related to the “sinking” of one of San Francisco’s iconic buildings. Construction of the Millennium Tower in downtown San Francisco was completed in 2009, and after its construction and the construction of three major nearby structures, the 58-story high-rise sank approximately 17 inches. Because of the high-profile nature of the development (its residents have included NFL legend Joe Montana and basketball star Kevin Durant), the case attracted major international press attention. The litigation involved more than 400 plaintiffs and approximately 30 defendants and cross-defendants. After more than three years of litigation, the parties reached an agreement on financial terms for a global resolution of all pending claims.

  • Represented the world’s largest pork producer in several trials, stemming from several class actions in North Carolina related to alleged material harm caused by its hog farming operations in the state. Paul Hastings was hired to work with prior counsel after a series of crushing defeats, the client facing verdicts of over $550 million in damages prior to the firm’s hiring. In two subsequent trials, juries returned verdicts for our client for total damages in aggregate under $550,000, which was considered a major victory by our client given the damages sought and the history of previous trials. In a related third trial, secured a motion to dismiss for our client early, saving the client millions of dollars in discovery and trial costs, and sparing further reputational harm to its American operations

  • We have represented General Electric and its finance subsidiaries in a number of consumer class actions in courts throughout the U.S.

  • Successfully eliminated all claims for The Boeing Company alleging that releases of radioactive substances and a wide variety of chemicals from three facilities in Southern California allegedly caused personal injury, deaths and property damage.

  • Represented Plaza Construction Corp. in more than 10,000 individual actions alleging personal injuries as a result of the rescue, recovery, and clean-up at the World Trade Center sites in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

  • Served as trial counsel for a class action filed by over 400 residents claiming diminution in property value due to operations at Hoffmann-La Roche’s former 120-acre U.S. Headquarters in New Jersey.



Contact Us

Image: William K Whitner
William K Whitner
Global Chair of the Complex Litigation and Arbitration Practice

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