Mass Torts and Class-Action Defense
Mass torts and class actions represent serious threats to corporations, property owners, insurance carriers, and others perceived as “deep pockets.” WSHB’s attorneys understand a client’s interest in ending these cases as quickly and effectively as possible, while preventing possibile future claims.
Mass torts are of two types: 1) a single incident that results in large-scale media coverage and immediate interest by plaintiffs’ attorneys, or 2) repetitive claims regarding the same product or service.
We handle mass torts by evaluating and assessing claims on both an individual and mass basis. Because a settlement or motion beneficial on an individual basis may be harmful in the aggregate, every decision must be considered in the context of an overall strategy. We develop this overall strategy as soon as the threat of multiple claims is identified. In addition to locating key experts and efficiently handling case information management, we also discern what procedural devices best fit the case.
A class action encompasses hundreds or even thousands of potential claims, all allegedly arising from a common factual and legal predicate.
Our approach to defending class actions includes aggressively challenging the basis for certification at every stage of litigation, including pleadings. It also includes offering courts viable alternatives for handling large numbers of plaintiffs without resorting to the class device.
This approach requires a thorough examination of the elements of plaintiff’s causes of action, and the evidence and discovery required to meet those elements. Through these strategies, we try to mitigate the devastating effect that class actions can have.
Representative Matters for Mass Torts
- Handled product litigation involving thousands of plaintiffs and hundreds of individual complaints
- Represented clients in every major multi-case mass tort filed in the last decade, including asbestos, silica, benzene, welding rods, and mold
- Frequently asked to consult with clients faced with repetitive claims in regard to risk management, insurance issues, risk transfer, claims management, and the development of national litigation strategies
Representative Matters for Class Action Defense
- Handled class actions involving consumer and commercial issues, property damage, civil rights, and personal injuries
- Extensive experience defending class actions by consumers involving allegations of unfair business practices and other statutory violations
- Defeated certification and prevented plaintiffs from expanding the use of the class device in cases involving residential construction defects and personal injuries
- Leveraged our willingness to take cases to trial to convince plaintiffs’ counsel to accept settlements involving coupons and other non-monetary compensation
- Represented major herbal supplement manufacturer in nationwide class action defense
- Represented several residential home builders in class action suits involving plumbing components