Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Class Action Litigation

Introduction Print

Major companies regularly turn to us to defend and prosecute class actions throughout the United States.  Our partners have defended more than 1000 of them. 

No hold-ups: Quinn Emanuel’s reputation as the country’s top business trial firm significantly contributes to our outstanding results in class actions.  Our lawyers have the respect of courts and opposing counsel, and our willingness to try even the most difficult case tells opposing counsel litigating against us will not be business as usual.  Among other benefits, this means the plaintiffs’ bar knows it cannot rely on the inevitable strike-suit settlement.

Experienced lawyers:  Our class action bench is deep.  More than half our partners regularly represent clients in class actions.  We have extensive knowledge of the procedural and litigation dynamics unique to class actions, as well as expertise in the underlying substantive areas of the law.  We also have established productive working relationships with the plaintiffs’ class action bar, which pay dividends in terms of limiting discovery and other litigation disputes, as well as at the settlement table.

We have represented clients in class actions in virtually every discipline and dozens of jurisdictions.  Our expertise includes: 

  • Antitrust
  • Consumer Fraud
  • RICO Claims
  • Product Liability
  • Unfair Competition
  • False Advertising
  • Toxic Tort
  • Securities Fraud
  • Wage-and-Hour Claims

Our class action experience spans almost every major industry, including high-tech electronics, banking and financial services, oil and gas, entertainment, telecommunications, medical services, defense contracting, insurance, toy and game manufacturing, and sharing economy companies.  Our lawyers have litigated class actions involving everything from computer hardware to Formula One racing, home-equity loans to bullet-proof vests, and credit cards to fuel economy.

Exit strategies: We know a class action can quickly become a tool for litigation extortion.  Effective defense requires early identification of our client’s optimal exit strategy.  We are particularly proud of our track record resolving class actions at modest expense to our clients—whether through an outright win or a sensible business-savvy settlement.  In several instances, we have persuaded plaintiffs’ counsel to drop cases altogether after providing informal discovery.  We have resolved other cases on very favorable terms through mediation before any discovery or certification proceedings.  And we have a strong track record getting cases dismissed on early motions.

We also represent plaintiffs: We are equally effective prosecuting class actions.  We have achieved excellent results—including nine-figure recoveries—on behalf of plaintiffs alleging a variety of state and federal class claims including antitrust violations, RICO, and unfair business practices.  Because we work both sides of the class action aisle, we thoroughly understand the strategic decisions that inform winning strategies.

The significance, size, complexity, diversity, and number of our class action representations led Law360 to select Quinn Emanuel recently as a “Class Action Practice Group of the Year,” one of only five selected from among nearly 550 nominations.  We describe below class actions we defended or prosecuted. 

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Recent Representations Print

Recent Class Action Representations

Antitrust

  • We represented Samsung in two price-fixing class actions, brought by direct and indirect purchasers of NAND flash memory.  Although classes had been certified in similar cases in the same district, we successfully defeated class certification in both actions, causing the direct purchaser representative to agree to voluntary dismissal.
  • We represented FIFA in an antitrust class action in which plaintiffs alleged that FIFA and its co-defendants engaged in a conspiracy to force individuals who wished to attend the 2014 World Cup, the world’s most elite soccer event, to purchase costlier hospitality packages instead of face-value tickets in order to drive up profits.  Hundreds of millions of dollars was at stake.  In less than a year, we got this action dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 
  • As court-appointed co-lead counsel for direct purchaser plaintiffs in In re Flexible Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Ohio), we won certification of a national class of direct purchasers of polyurethane foam, defeated the defendants’ effort to have the certification decision reversed on appeal, and defeated those same defendants’ motions for summary judgment.  As a result of this representation, we achieved over $430 million in settlements for the class from nine different defendants.
  • On behalf of a class of institutional investors, we have obtained more than $300 million in settlements after a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the Quinn Emanuel-led ISDAfix antitrust case, which alleges that the major Wall Street banks conspired to rig the ISDAfix benchmark rate in order to extract higher profits on financial instruments that are linked to ISDAfix.  This victory is notable because it vindicates our data-driven approach to developing large antitrust and market manipulation cases based on economic evidence.
  • We represented DIRECTV in two separate consumer class actions in which the plaintiffs sued DIRECTV, the NBA, and the NHL, alleging various antitrust violations, including vertical and horizontal price fixing, monopolization, and illegal restraint of trade, arising from the sale and distribution of DIRECTV’s NBA League Pass and DIRECTV’s NHL Center Ice Programming Packages.  The Southern District of California dismissed all claims with prejudice.
  • We defended IBM in a series of federal class action antitrust claims related to the market for Static Random Access Memory.
  • We represent Dust Pro in an antitrust class action against the nation’s largest railroads (BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and Kansas City Southern) alleging that they have conspired since 2003 to fix the prices of fuel surcharges applied to rate-unregulated rail freight traffic in the multi-billion market for rail freight transport.
  • We represented JBL Professional, a subsidiary of Harman Professional, in a putative class action alleging conspiracy and antitrust violations of the Sherman Act based on allegations that JBL conspired with numerous other defendants to unlawfully exclude the plaintiff, a small music equipment manufacturer, from the market to help a larger supplier.  Following motions to dismiss, plaintiff agreed to settle the case on terms favorable to our client.
  • We represent plaintiff Somerset Industries, Inc. in an antitrust class action brought by direct purchasers of eggs and egg products, alleging a nationwide price-fixing scheme by major egg producers and processors.  Plaintiffs have asserted federal antitrust claims under the Sherman Act.
  • We acted as co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in a class action antitrust case against Comdata Corporation, the largest provider of payment cards for truck fleets to purchase fuel and other services in connection with the long-haul transportation of freight.  We obtained a $130 million settlement and prospective relief on behalf of a plaintiff class of independent truck stops that compete with national chains in selling fuel to trucking companies.  The lawsuit was brought under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and challenged exclusionary conduct by Comdata that enhanced and perpetuated its monopoly position.
  • We were appointed lead class counsel in a multi-billion dollar antitrust lawsuit against over ten major financial institutions regarding their monopolization of the credit default swaps market.

RICO Violations

  • We represented Trafigura, one of the world’s largest commodity trading companies, in a major class action lawsuit alleging that Puerto Rico’s government-owned power utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), and some of the world’s largest oil suppliers perpetuated a massive fuel oil fraud.  The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico, alleges that officials at PREPA accepted bribes and kickbacks from fuel oil suppliers in exchange for PREPA’s agreement to accept and pay for millions of barrels of fuel oil that did not meet contract specifications.  The complaint further alleges that the defendants conspired with a number of laboratories in order to falsify test results and fraudulently certify the fuel oil as compliant.  Plaintiffs are seeking billions in compensatory and punitive damages.  We obtained a full dismissal at the pleading stage, saving our client from costly litigation and bringing its liability to zero.
  • We represented DIRECTV in a notable victory when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of all claims asserted against DIRECTV in a RICO class action lawsuit.  The unanimous opinion established that the Noerr-Pennington doctrine protects pre-litigation demand letters, even those that allegedly constitute extortion, mail fraud or other RICO predicate acts.
  • We represented a leading mutual fund client and two of its executives in the defense of federal class action claims seeking treble and punitive damages under RICO.  The claims maintained that investments by mutual funds in the publicly-traded stock of allegedly illegal gambling businesses amounted to RICO violations.  We persuaded the federal district court to dismiss the action with prejudice on an initial motion to dismiss and obtained affirmance of the dismissal by the Second Circuit. 

Consumer Fraud/Unfair Practices

  • We defended Colgate Palmolive in a series of class actions in New Hampshire federal court that contended Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap efficacy claims are false and misleading.  The suits also contended Colgate implicitly represents that Softsoap Antibacterial Hand Soap provides benefits over soap without antibacterial qualities.  With the cases approaching the class certification stage, Quinn Emanuel negotiated an injunctive relief settlement that involved no compensation to the massive purported class that was seeking potentially a billion dollars in damages. 
  • Despite billion of dollars of exposure and seven years of litigation, we ended multi-district class actions attacking the health benefits claims of a key Coca-Cola brand, vitaminwater®, without any compensation to class members.  The stakes were particularly high because plaintiffs sought an injunction that would force a change of the well-established vitaminwater® brand name.  These actions were initially consolidated in the Eastern District of New York but were then remanded to their original jurisdictions for purposes of ruling on class certification.  Quinn Emmanuel defeated class certification in the lead case as to all claims for monetary relief.  Following this significant certification denial win, the other previously-consolidated actions were settled for injunctive relief only.  
  • We represented Uber Technologies, Inc. in a case involving allegedly unauthorized transportation service under New Mexico State law.  We defeated plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and secured a dismissal of plaintiffs’ claim on a pleading motion.
  • We represented Pfizer Inc. in a class action challenging the efficacy of its highly successful antidepressant, Zoloft.  Plaintiff claimed she had taken the medication for three years but it had not worked.  She sought the return of all monies paid by everyone in California who had taken Zoloft since it was approved in 1991.  On August 29, 2014, Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California granted Pfizer’s motion to dismiss with prejudice.
  • We took over representation of Barnes & Noble in a class action alleging that the bookseller had breached contracts and engaged in consumer deception when it took orders for 250,000 Hewlett Packard TouchPads during a few hours on August 12, 2011 and then was unable to deliver them.  The prior firm that handled the case for more than three years had obtained a series of bad rulings against Barnes & Noble.  Within six months, we reversed the direction of the case, developed significant new facts, and obtained a dismissal with prejudice from plaintiff.
  • We represented HotChalk, a provider of administrative services for online educational institutions in a consumer class action brought by two former students of an online university, both of whom received Masters Degrees in Education.  Despite the fact that they had matriculated and obtained degrees, which they were using to advance their professional careers, plaintiffs claimed that they, and every member of their putative class, should be refunded their full tuition because HotChalk allegedly had cold-called them, and had failed to reveal its role in the online university.  They alleged claims under the Arizona Consumer Protection Act and the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.  The Northern District of California granted our motion to dismiss, giving plaintiffs leave to amend.  After plaintiffs filed their amended complaint, we filed a renewed motion to dismiss.  Just days before the hearing, plaintiffs offered to settle the case and ultimately gave HotChalk a dismissal with prejudice in return for $35,000.
  • We represented ADT Security Services in a national class action challenging a variety of the provisions in ADT’s customer contracts.  ADT faced hundreds of millions of dollars in total exposure.  After winning substantial victories at summary judgment and a ruling that plaintiffs forfeited the right to move for class certification, we settled plaintiffs’ individual claims for a nominal sum.
  • We obtained a complete victory for IBM, which had been named as a defendant in a series of state and federal class actions arising out of the loss of nine data tapes belonging to IBM’s client, Health Net, Inc.  Based on a California statute, known as the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, which was alleged to allow certain damages without proof of injury, plaintiffs sought approximately $2 billion in damages.  After the cases were consolidated in the Eastern District of California, Quinn Emanuel filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated cases on standing grounds.  During the months that the motion was pending, Quinn Emanuel also staved off discovery by convincing the court that requiring IBM to engage in discovery before its motion to dismiss was decided would be a miscarriage of justice.
  • We represented Sprint Nextel in numerous consumer class and representative actions.  Allegations ran the gamut of consumer claims, including inadequate disclosures, unlawful fees, and unlawful business practices under various federal and/or state laws around the country.  We repeatedly defeated class certification, obtained summary adjudication, and obtained numerous dismissals for nominal consideration after litigation revealed the defects in plaintiffs’ class claims.  Most recently, we defended our client against a series of litigations around the country pertaining to early termination fees in term contracts.  In one of the very few class actions to actually proceed to a jury trial, we obtained a jury verdict in favor of Sprint against consumers seeking more than $220 million.
  • We represented Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. in two separate putative class actions alleging that Scion xBs and Toyota FJ Cruisers suffered from defects that caused their windshields to have a dangerous propensity to crack under circumstances that would not cause non-defective windshields to crack.  Plaintiff alleged causes of action for, inter alia, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and breach of express warranty.  We obtained favorable settlements in both cases, with the FJ settlement following an outright dismissal of the class allegations through early dispositive motions.  We also previously represented Toyota Motor Corporation in a national class action in federal court alleging various false advertising, product liability and unfair competition claims involving allegedly defective Lexus vehicles, and obtained, by early dispositive motions, an outright dismissal. 
  • We secured two significant wins for Epson America and Seiko Epson Corporation in a class action alleging a variety of unfair consumer practices under California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.  Quinn Emanuel whittled plaintiffs’ case down to claims based on only two theories.  First, plaintiffs contended Epson wrongfully failed to inform consumers that its products were somehow “less efficient” than other manufacturers’ printers.  Quinn Emanuel successfully obtained a summary judgment ruling rejecting this novel theory.  Plaintiffs’ second theory, based on a purportedly misleading affirmative description of a product feature, was defeated at class certification.  The firm won unanimous affirmances by the Ninth Circuit of both decisions.
  • We represented Electronic Arts in two consumer class action cases in the Northern District of California, involving claims under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and the Copyright Act relating to DRM (digital rights management) technology in the video game maker’s products.  The cases were resolved at a very early stage with no monetary relief to the class.
  • We represented Harley-Davidson in a putative class action arising from the loss of a laptop computer containing customers’ personal information, alleging negligence, breach of warranty, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, prima facie tort and violations of New York false-advertising and deceptive-practices statutes.  The Southern District of New York granted our motion to dismiss all claims.
  • We represented Intuit in three separate class actions alleging various contract and tort theories, as well as claims of unfair competition under various California consumer protection statutes (including the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law) relating to Intuit’s decision to impose a discontinuation (“sunsetting”) policy on older versions of its best-selling Quicken and QuickBooks product lines.  Before class certification, we filed motions to dismiss based largely on defenses arising under California common law defenses and Intuit’s end-user license agreements.  The court dismissed all claims with prejudice.
  • We represented DIRECTV, obtaining a grant of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court on the propriety of class-wide arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act, reversing the California Court of Appeal.  On remand from the United States Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal held for the first time in a published decision that whether an arbitration agreement governed by the FAA permits class-wide arbitration must be determined by the arbitrator, not the courts, reversing long-standing decisions under California law.
  • On behalf of our client Washington Mutual Insurance Services, we defeated class certification in a purported 23-state consumer class action.
  • On behalf of our client Time, Inc., we obtained summary judgment in a nationwide class action challenging an allegedly fraudulent magazine promotion.
  • We represented Mitsubishi Corporation in nationwide class action involving allegations of unfair competition and fraud arising from the sale and marketing of high-definition television sets.  We successfully moved for summary judgment, resulting in dismissal of all claims.
  • We represented Associated Materials, Inc. and Gentek Building Products in a series of nine class actions claiming their steel siding products had failed and asserting claims for breach of warranty and associated claims.  The cases were consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio. We successfully staved off formal discovery in the early stages of the case and eventually invited the many plaintiffs’ firms to participate in a relatively early mediation. We conducted the mediation after limited informal discovery and without any depositions being taken.  The mediation resulted in a modest settlement which principally consisted of our clients making some adjustments to their warranty program.  Our clients did not put money into a common fund or otherwise make monetary payments to the class members.
  • We represented a national wireless service provider in a nationwide class action alleging violations of consumer credit statutes.  Plaintiffs sought more than $1.5 billion in damages.  After we defeated plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, the case quickly settled for a nominal sum.
  • We represented a waste disposal and recycling company in a California class action brought by all customers in a Southern California city, seeking more than $30 million in damages.  Our demurrer was sustained without leave to amend.
  • We represented a class of nearly 3,000 restaurants and restaurateurs that charged Reward Network with usury and unfair business practices. After two and a half years of hard-fought litigation, we obtained a settlement of $64 million for the class members.

Product Liability/Personal Injury

  • We represented Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC and related entities in products liability litigation over propoxyphene, a prescription pain medication that the FDA requested be withdrawn from the market in 2010.  We were instrumental in obtaining an en banc ruling by the Ninth Circuit holding that a petition to coordinate some 1,700 claims in California state court gave rise to removal under the “mass action” provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act, in a decision that will shape the future course of all pharmaceutical products liability litigation in California and elsewhere.
  • We served as lead counsel to Chartis in the multi-district litigation and several related class actions involving thousands of claims related to defective Chinese manufactured drywall, as well as in litigation seeking compensation from the Chinese and German manufacturers of the defective products.
  • We represented The Home Depot in a consumer class action and defeated a request for a preliminary injunction and class certification in a federal court action seeking to enjoin The Home Depot from nationwide sales of an allegedly dangerous consumer product.
  • We represented major real estate developers, including KB Home, Dell Webb and others, in numerous construction defect class actions and actions seeking recovery for personal injuries allegedly caused by defects or mold and related injuries.
  • We represented San Diego Gas & Electric Company and its ultimate parent, Sempra Energy, in litigation arising from the October 2007 San Diego wildfires, including two putative class actions each potentially including as many as 500,000 San Diego County residents and seeking billions of dollars in damages.  After convincing the trial court to deny class certification in both cases, we obtained two unanimous decisions affirming the trial court from the California Court of Appeal.

Securities/Financial Litigation

  • We represented Charles Schwab & Co. and its related entities in two class actions related to two popular mutual funds that suffered substantial losses during the credit crisis of 2007-2008.  Plaintiffs claimed Schwab violated a broad variety of state and federal securities and unfair competition statutes, and also alleged common law claims.  We filed motions to dismiss the class actions and achieved dismissals with prejudice in both actions.
  • We represented several Charles Schwab-related entities and individuals in a shareholder derivative suit and securities class action related to the Schwab YieldPlus Fund.  Pursuant to the recommendation of a special litigation committee, we moved for, and obtained, dismissal of the derivative and class action claims on summary judgment.  The judgment was affirmed on appeal.
  • We successfully defeated class certification in an action claiming East West Bank aided and abetted fraud and breach of fiduciary duty by a bank customer.
  • We represented the lead defendant and former director of Peregrine Systems, Inc. in defending against claims by putative classes of federal plaintiffs, two state-court lawsuits by groups of investors, and claims by the Peregrine Litigation Trust, which sought more than $2 billion from Peregrine’s directors, officers, and others, arising from the company’s $500 million financial restatement.  We obtained summary judgment in one state-court action and dismissals with prejudice in two other cases, leading to a favorable settlement of all federal class claims.
  • We represented Terayon Communications Systems and its various officers and directors in the defense of several shareholder class and derivative actions.  Retained only shortly before trial, we successfully resolved the matters after summary judgment argument and expert discovery.
  • We obtained the dismissal with prejudice of a nationwide class action against Chartis Insurance Group brought by investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme who demanded their insurers compensate them for their loss of fictitious profits.
  • We represented AOL Time Warner in the Homestore.com securities class action alleging financial statement fraud.  All claims were dismissed and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal. 
  • We have represented numerous corporations, directors, and officers in securities class actions and shareholder derivative litigation alleging improper revenue recognition, stock option backdating, or other forms of accounting fraud, obtaining complete dismissals for several clients, including GE Capital; the chairman and founder of E-Universe; the chairman and founder of Ariba, Inc., and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • We represented Hughes Electronics in securities litigation arising from the failed Hughes-Echostar merger; all claims were dismissed and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal.
  • We represented VeriSign, Inc. in a suit brought by a leading securities class-action plaintiffs’ firm alleging violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act.  Specifically, plaintiff alleged that VeriSign misrepresented the likelihood that the Department of Commerce would approve the renewal of VeriSign’s key contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and that VeriSign made certain false financial projections.  We went on the offensive by filing an immediate motion to dismiss prior to appointment of lead plaintiff and by challenging plaintiff’s use of investigators to interview VeriSign’s former employees.  Within a matter of months, we persuaded plaintiff to abandon the case and voluntarily dismiss its claims with prejudice.
  • We represented Pitney Bowes Inc. and two of its officers in the District of Connecticut in a securities fraud class action alleging misstatements and omissions relating to the company’s third-quarter and full-year 2012 revenue and earnings projections.  We obtained dismissal of all claims, with prejudice, after taking over the case from previous counsel.
  • We represented a major investment bank in the In re AIG Securities Litigation, and forced the plaintiffs to withdraw a multi-billion dollar securities class action upon threat of our motion to dismiss.
  • We represented a global specialty rice company in a case brought by a putative class of investors alleging violations of the Securities and Exchange Acts.  The investors’ claims were based on unfounded allegations in short-seller reports that the company had filed fraudulent financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and committed other corporate malfeasance.  We obtained dismissal without prejudice of the investors’ second amended complaint with leave to amend and, when the investors failed to meet the deadline to amend, complete dismissal of the case for failure to prosecute and failure to comply with a court order.

Wage and Hour

  • We successfully defended Barnes & Noble in two separate wage and overtime class actions involving different groups of employees, one in federal court and one in California state court, alleging failures to provide meal breaks and rest breaks and failures to pay overtime.  We defeated class certification in its entirety in both cases.
  • We represented Computer Sciences Corporationin a 27,000-employee nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act and state law overtime class action.  The case settled on terms that resulted in an average payout of less than $1,000 per class member—a number several times lower than the typical per-class member settlement in such cases. 
  • We represented Home Savings in an overtime class action concerning nearly 2,000 account representatives.  The firm negotiated a $1.5 million settlement, one of the lowest settlements in California history for comparable claims and class size.
  • We represented Computer Sciences Corporation in a purported nationwide overtime class action on behalf of computer consultants.  After providing informal discovery to plaintiff’s counsel, we persuaded the plaintiff to drop the class-action allegations and resolve the remaining individual claim.
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