Class Actions

Complex litigation increasingly takes the form of a class action or mass litigation. These cases can impose a heavy burden on companies, both in terms of time and exposure. For more than 25 years, Goodwin lawyers have defended our clients against national class and mass tort actions across industries, including financial services, securities, insurance, electronics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, food and supplements, and other consumer goods and services. Goodwin trial lawyers have defended more than 500 nationwide or statewide class actions in the past five years alone, including many with potential exposure of billions of dollars.

In defending against class action claims and mass litigation, Goodwin litigators find novel approaches – in developing strategies to defeat class certification, in motion practice, in settlement negotiations and at trial – to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients. While we often achieve early and favorable resolution of complex, multibillion-dollar disputes, we are trial lawyers at heart, not afraid to take aggressive positions and win with a jury when our clients agree that is the best approach.

Class action defense requires an unusually broad range of expertise, not just in litigation but in the particular challenges and procedures attendant to class action cases. As part of our cross-disciplinary approach to defending clients, attorneys in a range of practice areas – including Products Liability & Mass Torts, Consumer Financial Services Litigation, Insurance, FDA, Business Litigation, Securities Litigation & SEC Enforcement, ERISA Litigation, and Labor & Employment – work closely with our class action teams.

Goodwin is also a leader in defending companies in mass litigation. This includes defending clients in over 30 federal Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”) proceedings, including many in which the firm serves as lead counsel. Likewise, Goodwin’s litigators represent clients in over a dozen state litigation consolidations across the country in a range of subject matters, including products liability, insurance, pharmaceutical products, real property disputes, and mass property and casualty disputes. Goodwin also represents clients in over 50 disputes pending in multiple federal and state courts that have not been formally consolidated. This breadth of experience helps our litigators tackle the most complicated, wide-ranging disputes.

Defeating Class Certification

The need for strategic defense takes on special significance in the class action context. Courts have explicitly acknowledged what has been widely accepted in the corporate world: the certification of a class can coerce defendants into settling even meritless claims. Certifying a class can increase potential damage exposure to a level where a loss could cause irreparable damage to a company or even an industry. Even with a high probability of success, the catastrophic consequences of a loss often cause defendants to settle at costs much greater than originally projected.
Defeating class certification is one of the cornerstones of Goodwin’s Class Action Practice. We have helped some of the country’s leading manufacturers and service providers to defeat class certification in “bet-the-company” litigation. We have done this by disputing the existence or predominance of common questions of fact, questioning the “single course of conduct” and highlighting important distinctions between the factual and legal assertions by members of the putative class. We have played a major role in the development of case law challenging plaintiffs to show by evidence, rather than mere assertion, that class action treatment is warranted, and we have pioneered the use of expert testimony in opposing class certification in toxic tort and consumer class actions.

  • Our strategy for defending class action litigation reflects our clients’ goals:
  • Remove the action to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) or other appropriate grounds
  • Defeat class certification before the trial court, or seek an interlocutory appeal if necessary
  • Dispose of the action through motion practice
  • Achieve a favorable settlement
  • If the action proceeds to trial, win

Creativity and a real-world, business approach set us apart. As judges have taken a closer look at how cases are managed, we have earned a reputation in federal and state courts for being efficient, well-prepared and thorough. We have experience in every step of the process of defending class actions and mass litigation, and, because we understand the path that these types of cases typically take, we provide extraordinarily cost-effective representation.

Related Practices

Business + Commercial Litigation

Companies often face complex disputes with other businesses, government entities, or groups of individuals, which require an understanding of both the business issue and the industry of the client. Our Business Litigation practice specializes in handling these complex disputes, representing leaders in diverse industry sectors, including many Fortune 100 companies, in connection with their most important litigation matters. What sets us apart from our peers is our depth of trial and arbitration experience, class action expertise, and connections to the specialized business litigation courts across the country.
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Consumer Financial Services Litigation

Consumer financial services companies face a broad spectrum of issues unique to the industry, and you need counsel that understands the challenges the industry faces. With one of the most preeminent consumer financial services litigation practice groups in the nation, our lawyers know your industry. With experience in regulatory counseling and examinations, government investigations, enforcement proceedings, and litigation, we defend many of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including prominent banks, mortgage companies, credit card issuers, and insurers, in high-stakes consumer financial services litigation cases.
Read More

ERISA Litigation

As retirement plans have come to hold an increasing proportion of the nation’s wealth, the number of lawsuits claiming violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) has mushroomed. With our expertise in financial services and capital markets, we are uniquely positioned to defend ERISA litigation that challenges the way products and services within the employee benefit plan marketplace, including retirement, life, and health, are managed and administered.
Read More

Labor + Employment

Management teams of all sizes and across a broad spectrum of industries rely on Goodwin for advice and representation in all areas of labor and employment law. We provide practical advice to employers on hiring and disciplinary practices, compensation, workplace violence, privacy concerns, issues arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act, loyalty issues, and protection of employer good will and proprietary information via restrictions on post-employment competition.

Our lawyers have extensive employment litigation experience involving all significant employment law issues, including reasonable accommodation of disabilities; sexual harassment; discrimination claims arising out of reductions in force; individual disparate treatment claims; wrongful discharge/public policy claims; employment contract and employee benefits claims; wage and hour disputes; and enforcement of noncompetition obligations.

Read More

Products Liability + Mass Torts

Companies facing products liability and mass tort litigation require experienced counsel with a sophisticated, multi-disciplinary practice. At the same time, the stakes for corporate defendants have grown to “bet the company” magnitude in many instances. Companies in these situations count on Goodwin to ensure their interests are optimally protected.
Read More

Securities + Shareholder Litigation

When a company is faced with a securities class action or shareholder derivative litigation, they need a partner who understands what is at stake and can think outside the box to achieve resolution. Goodwin’s deep experience, creative thinking and tenacity has led to our involvement in precedent-setting securities cases in courts across the country. The results we achieve are best of breed and have helped shape the law nationally, including outright dismissals of billions of dollars in putative class action and shareholder derivative claims. Our cases range from defending high tech and biotech companies in class action securities fraud litigation brought following restatements of earnings or the release of bad business news, to resolving shareholder derivative challenges, to multibillion dollar mergers and acquisitions.

Read More
Related Practices
Business + Commercial Litigation
Companies often face complex disputes with other businesses, government entities, or groups of individuals, which require an understanding of both the business issue and the industry of the client. Our Business Litigation practice specializes in handling these complex disputes, representing leaders in diverse industry sectors, including many Fortune 100 companies, in connection with their most important litigation matters. What sets us apart from our peers is our depth of trial and arbitration experience, class action expertise, and connections to the specialized business litigation courts across the country.
Read More
Consumer Financial Services Litigation
Consumer financial services companies face a broad spectrum of issues unique to the industry, and you need counsel that understands the challenges the industry faces. With one of the most preeminent consumer financial services litigation practice groups in the nation, our lawyers know your industry. With experience in regulatory counseling and examinations, government investigations, enforcement proceedings, and litigation, we defend many of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including prominent banks, mortgage companies, credit card issuers, and insurers, in high-stakes consumer financial services litigation cases.
Read More
ERISA Litigation
As retirement plans have come to hold an increasing proportion of the nation’s wealth, the number of lawsuits claiming violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) has mushroomed. With our expertise in financial services and capital markets, we are uniquely positioned to defend ERISA litigation that challenges the way products and services within the employee benefit plan marketplace, including retirement, life, and health, are managed and administered.
Read More
Labor + Employment

Management teams of all sizes and across a broad spectrum of industries rely on Goodwin for advice and representation in all areas of labor and employment law. We provide practical advice to employers on hiring and disciplinary practices, compensation, workplace violence, privacy concerns, issues arising under the Family and Medical Leave Act, loyalty issues, and protection of employer good will and proprietary information via restrictions on post-employment competition.

Our lawyers have extensive employment litigation experience involving all significant employment law issues, including reasonable accommodation of disabilities; sexual harassment; discrimination claims arising out of reductions in force; individual disparate treatment claims; wrongful discharge/public policy claims; employment contract and employee benefits claims; wage and hour disputes; and enforcement of noncompetition obligations.

Read More
Products Liability + Mass Torts
Companies facing products liability and mass tort litigation require experienced counsel with a sophisticated, multi-disciplinary practice. At the same time, the stakes for corporate defendants have grown to “bet the company” magnitude in many instances. Companies in these situations count on Goodwin to ensure their interests are optimally protected.
Read More
Securities + Shareholder Litigation

When a company is faced with a securities class action or shareholder derivative litigation, they need a partner who understands what is at stake and can think outside the box to achieve resolution. Goodwin’s deep experience, creative thinking and tenacity has led to our involvement in precedent-setting securities cases in courts across the country. The results we achieve are best of breed and have helped shape the law nationally, including outright dismissals of billions of dollars in putative class action and shareholder derivative claims. Our cases range from defending high tech and biotech companies in class action securities fraud litigation brought following restatements of earnings or the release of bad business news, to resolving shareholder derivative challenges, to multibillion dollar mergers and acquisitions.

Read More

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