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Class Action Defense


Businesses and local governments face increasing risks from class action litigation, both in terms of the volume of cases filed and the dollar amount of damages claimed. A diverse spectrum of clients turn to Parker Poe to navigate these risks. We have extensive experience with complex class actions in federal and state courts, including defending companies as national counsel against putative class actions.

Our team advises on all aspects of class action litigation, including class certification, forum issues, dispositive motions, opt-out and objector issues, and settlement and fee issues. We represent clients at all stages of class actions as well, from walking them through the key initial steps after they have been served with a class action complaint, to defending them at the trial and appellate levels of federal and state courts. We have a particularly deep understanding of the local rules and practice in the Southeast's appellate courts, and we are frequently called on by out-of-state counsel for our insight.

We have defended clients against class actions arising from a broad range of disputes, such as those involving antitrust and trade regulation, PFAS and other environmental claims, employment, financial services, insurance, products liability, and personal injury. Our clients include pharmaceutical companies, textile manufacturers, chemical and metal manufacturers, automotive suppliers, financial institutions, insurance companies, health care providers, and high-tech and bio-tech companies.

Across the board, clients rely on us for creative and coordinated strategies to achieve both efficiencies and positive outcomes. They also turn to us given the increased need for outside counsel who can handle overlapping federal, state, and international litigation and investigations.

Representative Experience

  • Currently serve as national defense counsel for two foreign-owned chemical manufacturers related to multiple putative class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation pending in federal court. At present we are defending over 10,000 separate lawsuits from across the United States, as well as U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam. The cases concern alleged exposure and contamination arising from the use of aqueous film-forming foam that included PFAS.
  • Defeated a nearly 12-million-person class certification involving PFAS claims against a foreign-owned chemical manufacturer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the lower court's approval of the class action, holding that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert the alleged claims against our client and nine other companies. This ruling is expected to have a significant impact on other PFAS litigation pending around the United States, including the cases described above.
  • Defeated an approximately 250,000-person class action against a financial services company at trial and on appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina's ruling that our client properly advised and managed a company's 401(k) plan based on requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
  • Defeated a national putative class action against a Fortune 500 life sciences company involving breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices allegations. A federal court in North Carolina denied class certification, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs' petition to appeal.
  • Served as national defense counsel for a major insurance broker in class action lawsuits asserting claims for consumer protection, fraud, civil conspiracy, and civil RICO, among others, and pending in more than 10 jurisdictions. The matters were globally resolved on terms favorable to our client.
  • Defended against a national putative class action lawsuit in federal court asserting claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act by successfully compelling individual arbitration.
  • Successfully defended a financial institution and its officers and directors in a putative class action lawsuit in federal court in South Carolina asserting breach of fiduciary duty claims and violations of the securities laws.
  • Represented a defendant corporation in an antitrust price-fixing case in the racing merchandise industry in Tennessee. The trial court denied class certification and granted summary judgment for defendants, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a town in North Carolina in a class action seeking repayment of disputed taxes for all town residents over an eight-year period.
  • Represented a major workers' compensation insurer in a class action case in North Carolina in which the NC Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of the case before class certification and adopted the federal filed rate doctrine as a matter of state antitrust law. That doctrine holds that antitrust damages may not be obtained where rates are filed by competitors with an administrative agency and become the lawful rates. In our case, the NC Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs' claims that the actions of the defendants related to certain fees or otherwise were not related to rates themselves.
  • Represented a defendant in the federal court for the Middle District of North Carolina in a WARN Act case regarding notice of layoffs. The matter was favorably resolved for our client.
  • Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of Rule 10b-5 securities claims asserted in a putative class action against a "Big Four" accounting firm.
  • Represented a major insurance company in South Carolina state court in an action alleging price fixing of workers' compensation rates. The matter was settled and a related action in North Carolina state court was dismissed on the basis of the filed rate doctrine before class certification.
  • Represented a defendant in the federal court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in an action alleging that domestic and foreign airlines conspired to fix travel agency commissions.
  • Defended a corporation in North Carolina state court in a consumer class action, which was a follow-on to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claim against our client. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its case (prior to certification) after we took the proposed representatives' depositions and exposed the lack of evidence to support the substance of the claims and the right to class action status.
  • Defended manufacturer of medical X-ray film in indirect purchaser class action claiming price fixing. A class was certified in connection with settlement of the case.
  • Defeated class certification for a Fortune 500 company in a class action age discrimination case and obtained summary judgment on 38 individual claims.

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