Experienced, Tailored Class Action Defense
Butler Snow’s Class Action team has successfully defended numerous and varied class actions. Our client-centric approach focuses on the needs of each client and the unique challenges they face. Butler Snow class action attorneys deftly craft tailormade, case-specific strategies to achieve the results our clients seek. This approach, combined with an understanding of our clients’ businesses, has led to significant victories against allegations of antitrust violations, lender liability, securities fraud and consumer claims. Butler Snow has successfully defended against class actions of all magnitudes, including those involving the Truth in Lending Act, the Telephone Consumer Protections Act (TCPA) and whistleblower claims.
Our broad class action experience includes cases involving:
- Investment advisors, banks and other financial services institutions
- Correctional facilities and departments of corrections
- Video game designers
- Health insurance and health care reimbursement practices
- Antitrust and RICO claims
- Auto financing and insurance
- Various consumer products, pharmaceuticals and even musical instruments.
Butler Snow served as lead trial counsel in a bellwether antitrust class action in Federal court in Tennessee. After a two-month trial, the jury hung – a victory from the defendant’s perspective, enabling the client to leverage a settlement for less than 5% of the amount offered prior to trial.
Butler Snow litigators defended a pipe manufacturer in a consumer class action that alleged that plastic, heat-resistant pipes were defective due to cracking. Our team successfully bifurcated discovery and worked with engineers on a series of tests to show that the claims were not suitable for class action treatment, leading to a denial of the class certification.
Our team recently defeated class certification in a combined fraud and RICO action arising from advertising that the defendant’s popular veterinary pharmaceutical product was 100% effective. By delving into the scientific evidence, we vigorously defended the client during a five-day class certification hearing. The clear, scientific presentation supported the truth of the client’s representations. Separately, we discredited the named plaintiffs’ expert and purported the data he relied on, successfully arguing that there was no proof of reliance as a matter of law under Fifth Circuit RICO precedent.
Financial Services Highlights
Our experience in the financial services arena includes defending a putative nationwide class action based on amendments to the Truth in Lending Act. In that case, we persuaded the court to limit initial discovery to a narrow issue that could be dispositive as a matter of law. This strategy positioned the defendant to file an early, well-supported summary judgment motion that there was no private right of action. The court entered summary judgment for the defendant, a ruling later affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In another putative class action involving auto financing, our team conducted a proactive internal investigation that led to early mediation and a reasonable settlement before a single deposition took place – the very result that the client sought.
Insurance Class Action Highlights
In a separate action, our attorneys were retained by an excess carrier after a class was certified against the insured. Butler Snow was asked to reassess viable defenses to class claims of defectively designed residential windows. The insured, represented by the New York office of a prominent international firm, was on the verge of settling for a significant amount. Our team prepared in record time and formulated a defense theory potent enough to reduce the class’s settlement demand by approximately $10 million.
- Rigsby v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., et al.: Lead Counsel in False claim, whistleblower case arising out of Hurricane Katrina.
- Association Casualty Insurance Company, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Company, et al.: Lead counsel for windpool punitive class action. Judgment in favor of State Farm.
- State Farm Fire and Casualty Company et al. v. Jim Hood: Lead counsel for 1983 and 1985 civil rights suit against Mississippi Attorney General seeking injunction.
- Judy M. Guice v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company: Lead counsel for class action litigation arising from Hurricane Katrina.
- Gene and Margaret Taylor v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and John Does 1 Through 10: Lead counsel for high-profile bad faith case arising from Hurricane Katrina.
- Wesley McFarland, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and Unknown Defendants: Mississippi lead counsel for mass action lawsuit by numerous policy-holders (over 650 claimants) arising out of Hurricane Katrina.
- Trent and Tricia Lott v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and John Does 1 Through 10: Mississippi lead counsel for high-profile first-party bad faith arising from Hurricane Katrina.
- Ned Comer, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et al.: Mississippi trial and appellate counsel for extra contractual lawsuit arising out of Hurricane Katrina.
- Co-Mississippi counsel for body shop multi-plaintiff litigation summary judgment.
- Aftermarket replacement parts suits:
- Artis Bolden et al., v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co.
- James Christopher Hardin v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co.
- Willie G. Murriel v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co.
- Automotive Alignment and Body Service, Inc. d/b/a Pitalo’s Paint and Body Shop v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co.
- Aftermarket replacement parts suits:
- Genesco v. Finish Line / UBS: Represented Finish Line, Inc., a publicly traded company, in a lawsuit to enforce a $1.5 billion merger agreement, where the key dispute was a national issue of first impression regarding Material Adverse Change (“MAC”) clauses.
- Johnson, et al. v. W2007 Grace Acquisition I, Inc., et al. / Dent v. W2007 Grace Acquisition I, Inc., et al.: Represented a series of related entities and individuals affiliated with Goldman Sachs who were sued in two separate class actions by preferred shareholders in federal and state court. The putative class representatives asserted breach of fiduciary duty and related claims based on a heavily leveraged buy-out of the company at issue.
- Beasley et al. v. Wethington et al.: Represented an investor in and director of a restaurant company in defense of a shareholder derivative lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty, direct claims by certain shareholders and a Fair Labor Standards Act collective action.
- Genesco Inc. v. VISA: Represented VISA in a data security breach case involving $13.5 million in fines and assessments levied against shoe and apparel retailer Genesco arising out of a data security breach of Genesco’s computer systems. Among other things, Genesco’s lawsuit challenges the overall legality of VISA’s global data breach dispute resolution program.
- Snodgrass-King Pediatric Dental Associates, P.C. v. DentaQuest USA Insurance Co., Inc.: Represented the second largest dental practice group in Tennessee in a first amendment retaliation case against DentaQuest. DentaQuest is a private MCO that has contracted with the State of Tennessee to administer the dental portion of Tennessee’s Medicaid program.
- Bridgestone v. IBM: Represented IBM in a lawsuit in which Bridgestone was claiming nearly $200 million in damage because of an allegedly defective data management system designed and installed by IBM.
- Chartis WarrantyGuard, Inc. v. National Electronics Warranty, LLC: Represented National Electronics Warranty, LLC (“NEW”) in a commercial dispute alleging breach of contract and a variety of business torts with regards to a $400 million insurance program for extended warranties on consumer electronics in preliminary injunction proceedings before the Delaware Chancery Court and in subsequent confidential arbitration.
- Louisiana-Pacific Corp. v. Composatron Mfg., Inc.: Represented Composatron in a preliminary injunction action alleging breach of contract, a variety of business torts (including unfair competition and deceptive trade practice) and trademark infringement in the context of an alleged national distributorship requirements contract.
- United States of America ex rel. Pogue v. American Healthcorp, Inc.: Represented American Healthcorp, Inc. (Diabetes Treatment Centers of America) in a 15-year False Claims Act case seeking damages of hundreds of millions of dollars based on alleged claims of false billing practices.
- National Union Insurance Company v. Small Smiles: Represented nationwide dental management company in a lawsuit brought by its insurance carrier to rescind all professional liability policies with an alleged $1 billion in coverage at issue.
- Xantus Health v. Howard: Represented owner of TennCare HMO in suit brought by the State of Tennessee, as liquidator for the Plaintiff, for various claims including breach of fiduciary duty and other business tort claims.
- Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority d/b/a Erlanger Health Systems v. UnitedHealthcare Plan of the River Valley, Inc. d/b/a AmeriChoice: Represented a TennCare-managed care organization in suit brought by hospital system claiming underpayment for emergency treatment provided to insureds as required by federal law and treatment provided after stabilization.
- Reynolds et al. v. Arowood et al: Represented an individual plaintiff against an insurance conglomerate in claims for breach of contract and business torts relating to a workers’ compensation insurance program that was developed by the plaintiff and rolled out a national basis by the insurance conglomerate.
- Willett v. Baxter International, Inc.; Bravman v. B Healthcare Corporation: National counsel for mechanical heart valve litigation with 40 claimants (multiple summary judgments).
- Counsel to Special Litigation Committee of Board of Directors of Saks, Inc: Served as investigatory and advisory counsel for the Special Litigation Committee of the Board of Directors of Saks, Inc. Certain officers and directors of Saks and its independent auditor were sued in three separate shareholder derivative lawsuits based on alleged misconduct related to vendor markdown allowances, lease accounting issues and the restatement of financials.
- Counsel to Special Litigation Committee of Board of Directors of Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Served as investigatory and advisory counsel for the Special Litigation Committee of the Board of Directors of Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a developmental biotech company. Certain officers and directors of Provectus were sued in a shareholder derivative lawsuit based on alleged improper compensation awards in the form of cash bonuses and stock option grants.
- Counsel to Special Review Committee of the Board of Directors of a National Bank: Served as investigatory and advisory counsel for a special review committee of the board of directors of a national bank. The bank received a shareholder demand letter alleging that certain officers and directors of the bank had received unlawful incentive compensation in excess of $20 million based on unsustainable and fictitious financial results.
- National counsel for nationwide Thimerosal Vaccine litigation, including state and nationwide class actions and California Proposition 65 claims. Butler Snow attorneys worked on the national legal strategy group and the national science committee.
- Lead trial counsel and local counsel coordinating discovery for 4,800 claimants.
- Mississippi counsel coordinating the defense of thousands of claims, including all preparation (discovery and investigation).
- Represented publicly-traded restaurant corporation in a class action to block its sale to another corporation. The case was resolved by settlement after our client prevailed in a preliminary injunction hearing.
- Represented automobile manufacturer in state court antitrust pricing class action. Case ultimately settled favorably.
- Obtained dismissal of a $50 billion identity theft class action claim pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act following removal from state court to the Western District of Tennessee.
- Lead defense counsel in nationwide consumer fraud class action against Bridgestone/Firestone auto service centers located in every state. Plaintiffs alleged that the service centers intentionally and fraudulently priced and marketed repairs. We successfully obtained summary judgment prior to trial.
- Lead defense counsel in nationwide class action consumer fraud case against National Safety Associates Inc. (NSA). Plaintiffs alleged that NSA operated a pyramid scheme designed to defraud its members. After discovery, the court entered summary judgment for NSA.
- Federal antitrust Sherman Section One horizontal price-fixing conspiracy class action brought against all major domestic automobile tire manufacturers in the United States. After engaging in discovery limited to the issue of plaintiffs’ standing, the federal district court dismissed the suit based on the Illinois Brick Indirect Purchaser Doctrine.
- Represented two former officers (CEO and COO) of investment firm JC Bradford & Co. in four arbitrations, two federal securities cases (one of which was a class action, which was later dismissed) and a class action alleging breaches of fiduciary duty. All were actions related to the sale of JC Bradford to PaineWebber UBS.
- Represented officer of publicly-traded company named individually as a co-defendant in federal 10b-5 securities fraud class action. Following denial of a motion to dismiss, we successfully moved the court to reconsider and obtained a dismissal of the claims against him individually.
- Represented Logan’s Roadhouse in a class action to block the sale of Logan’s to CBRL, Inc. that settled after our client prevailed in a preliminary injunction hearing.
- Represented defendant in federal securities class action. Obtained preliminary dismissal of the case without prejudice, and second case was ultimately settled while motion for summary judgment was pending before the Court.
- Represented the NCAA in a class action lawsuit filed by current and former student-athletes against conferences and media companies.
- Defended a home health care provider against class action claims alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, as amended by the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (“TCPA”).