Class Action Defense

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Briggs and Morgan's litigation department has blazed trails in the field of defending clients who face class actions. We have successfully defended clients in a wide variety of industries in scores of class actions involving breach of contract, consumer, antitrust, securities, mass tort, employment, mortgage banking, and other statutory and common law claims.

Our litigation department has handled hundreds of class action suits in state and federal courts across the country, frequently dealing with claims of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. We are keenly aware that class actions can amass thousands of small claims to pose a serious threat to the very survival of a business. Our experienced class action litigators serve corporate clientele, including large employers, financial institutions, and members of the railroad, food, and transportation industries.

Briggs attorneys have successfully opposed class certifications and litigated merit determinations through judgments and appeals. We have handled mass tort claims and issues relating to train derailments for several leading railroad networks; wage and hour claims, including those associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act; securities and shareholder disputes; and general employment law matters.

Our litigation team also has extensive class action experience in the areas of consumer finance and mortgage banking. Our representation has included defeating attempts to certify classes in a variety of statutory and common law claims against the financial services industry. We have defended class claims in state and federal trial and appellate courts concerning mortgage foreclosure fees and practices, broker compensation, recording fees, discharge fees, escrow practices, fair lending statutes, truth-in-lending, RESPA, debt-collection practices, force-placed insurance, appraisal fees, and private mortgage insurance. To give the best possible counsel to lender and servicer clients, Briggs and Morgan mortgage banking and real estate attorneys team with seasoned litigators to create an innovative, low-cost resolution to a complex series of class actions.

Notable Class Action Representation:

  • Ongoing representation of various railroad networks in connection with train derailments and the resulting release of contaminants into the environment;
  • Lead counsel in securities class action litigation involving derivatives;
  • Defense of more than 20 mortgage banking clients against national class action claims that fee arrangements amount to kickbacks for originating loans at excessive interest rates;
  • Denials of class certification claims upheld by numerous state and federal appellate courts;
  • Defense in employment class action litigation, including wage and hour law, ERISA, and discrimination claims;
  • Defense of former officers and directors in shareholder class action litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty claims in connection with a corporate cash-out merger;
  • Successful dismissal affirmed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals of a class action by retailers alleging price-fixing by large regional dairies;
  • Work as lead counsel in multi-district class actions brought in connection with a major broker/dealer's underwriting of billions of dollars in direct investments, where only a fraction was returned to investors;
  • Representation of a manufacturer in claims on behalf of consumers under state usury and consumer protection statutes;
  • Obtaining voluntary dismissal of class action against ESOP which alleged that a plan amendment regarding valuation method could not apply to class members who had already terminated their employment but not yet received a distribution;
  • Successfully resolving an EEOC suit and related employee class action alleging failure to accommodate employees’ Muslim prayer practices.

Representative Matters

  • As lead trial counsel, obtained the dismissal, on Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Motions, of putative securities class actions brought under the Exchange Act, ERISA and state law because of the precipitous drop in the price of a registrant's common stock.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a class action brought in California state court by a 74-year-old blind man who mortgaged his home to purchase a deferred annuity.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a putative class action brought in connection with the acquisition of a publicly traded company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of class actions brought in connection with the alleged misrepresentation and omission of material facts in connection with the issuance of $700 million of oil and gas limited partnerships interests.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense and resolution of a class action comprised of 76,000 elderly customers who held $21 billion of fixed deferred annuities brought against the manufacturer and distributor of the annuities.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action securities claim brought against a publicly traded company, its principals and its largest shareholder: an Indian pharmaceutical company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action, bankruptcy clawback and 250 arbitrations brought in Michigan arising out of a massive Ponzi scheme involving the Ed May Deals.
  • Obtained insurance coverage for large class action settlement through settlement following a Bermuda arbitration.