Class Action Defense

Our attorneys have extensive class action defense experience. We have represented major public companies – including manufacturers, consumer products companies, and financial services companies – in a broad range of putative class actions, including cases alleging products liability, product defects, consumer fraud, antitrust, false advertising, and securities law claims.

The firm’s attorneys have successfully handled the most complex problems facing class action defendants by defeating motions for class certification, successfully arguing for removals and dismissals, enforcing class releases, and negotiating innovative settlements. Our lawyers have defeated class certification in over thirty consumer fraud class actions and have settled hundreds of liability cases on favorable terms.

Our lawyers also counsel clients on initiatives to address litigation risks and exposure, thus reducing the potential for future class actions. We strive to help our clients implement “best practices”.

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Successfully defended one of the largest Korean consumer product design and manufacturing companies in products liability class action alleging breach of warranty, fraud, and violation of state consumer protection laws relating to purported defects in plasma televisions. Matter was dismissed with prejudice.

Represented a bank in class certification discovery of $50 billion class action lawsuit.

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Cohen & Gresser partner Douglas J. Pepe was once again mentioned in Law360 for his representation of law firm Milberg LLP in a class action, Bobbitt v. Milberg et al., alongside co-counsel Gregory P. Joseph and Gila S. Singer of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLC and Michele G. Thompson of the Udall Law Firm LLP. A $32 million settlement in the yearslong malpractice action received preliminary approval from a federal judge in April, and class counsel has now asked the court to approve $9.6 million in attorney fees.
Cohen & Gresser partner Douglas J. Pepe was recently mentioned in Law360 for his representation of law firm Milberg LLP in a class action, Bobbitt v. Milberg et al., alongside co-counsel Gregory P. Joseph and Gila S. Singer of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLC and Michele G. Thompson of the Udall Law Firm LLP. A settlement in the yearslong malpractice action received preliminary approval from a federal judge.

Cohen & Gresser is pleased to announce that 37 of the firm's New York and Washington D.C.­based attorneys have been named to the 2021 Super Lawyers List across a wide range of practice areas. C&G co­founder Mark S Cohen and partners Jonathan S Abernethy and Daniel H Tabak have also been named to the Super Lawyers list of the top 100 lawyers in the New York metropolitan area, and partner Karen H Bromberg has been recognized as one of the top 50 women lawyers in the New York metropolitan area.

Super Lawyers ranks outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only five percent of the lawyers in each state are selected as Super Lawyers, and only 2.5 percent are selected as Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers

Jonathan S Abernethy: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Kwaku Andoh: Mergers & Acquisitions

Elizabeth Bernhardt: Business Litigation

Thomas E Bezanson: Personal Injury – Products: Defense

Colin C Bridge: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Karen H Bromberg: Intellectual Property

Jason Brown: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Joanna K Chan: Securities Litigation

Mark S Cohen: Business Litigation

S Gale Dick: Business Litigation

Christian R Everdell: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Lawrence T Gresser: Business Litigation

Oliver S Haker: Business Litigation

Johannes Jonas: Mergers & Acquisitions

Nicholas J Kaiser: Real Estate

Jeffrey I. Lang: Business Litigation

Melissa H Maxman: Antitrust Litigation

Ellen Paltiel: General Litigation

Nathaniel P T Read: Business Litigation

Bonnie J Roe: Securities & Corporate Finance

Stephen M Sinaiko: Business Litigation

C Evan Stewart: Securities Litigation

Daniel H Tabak: Business Litigation

Scott D Thomson: Business Litigation

Alexandra Wald: Business Litigation

Ronald F Wick: Antitrust Litigation

Rising Stars

Luke Appling: Civil Litigation

Sharon L Barbour: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Drew S Dean: General Litigation

William Kalema: Business Litigation

Sri Kuehnlenz: Civil Litigation

Winnifred A Lewis: Securities Litigation

Marvin J Lowenthal: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Barbara K Luse: Criminal Defense: White Collar

Matthew V Povolny: Business Litigation

Benjamin Zhu: Criminal Defense: White Collar

A recent edition of Law360 reported on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling which states that laws hostile to class action waivers cannot circumvent the Federal Arbitration Act. In this article, Larry Gresser weighs in on the significance of the decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that courts can't overturn a class arbitration waiver simply because it would cost plaintiffs more to arbitrate the claim than they could possibly recover. Gresser explains, “The other shoe has dropped…The lesson of Justice Scalia's majority opinion in American Express is that class action waivers will be enforced even when the arbitration clause is not customer friendly and the individual plaintiff's cost of arbitrating a claim is certain to exceed the potential recovery."
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that courts cannot second-guess an arbitrator's interpretation of a contract, backing an arbitrator's ruling that a doctor's pursuit of class arbitration against insurer Oxford Health Plans LLC was permitted. Gresser explains why the unanimous ruling is significant noting, “The critical question in Oxford v. Sutter — whether, after Stolt-Nielsen, ... the class action procedure is available in arbitration — was answered in the affirmative."
Sharon L Barbour discusses the potential ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver Cty. Employees Ret. Fund in The CLS Blue Sky Blog, Columbia Law School’s publication on corporations and capital markets. The case addresses the question of whether state courts have subject matter jurisdiction over class actions under the Securities Act of 1933.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert on Halliburton’s petition for challenging the Basic v. Levinson precedent on fraud-on-the-market theory.  What are the arguments on both sides of this issue and what will the Court likely hold? This article will explore arguments on both sides of this issue and it's potential impact to certification of securities fraud class actions.
In Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to overrule or modify the “fraud-on-the-market” presumption of reliance in 10b-5 securities fraud class actions. The fraud-on-the-market presumption has helped plaintiffs surmount the class certification hurdle for over 25 years, and if it is overruled or modified, class certification in securities fraud cases may become a more challenging — and costly — endeavor.
Employment class actions are disruptive, and at their worst, can be costly PR nightmares. Recent SCOTUS decisions may ultimately reduce the threat of employment class actions — but this hasn’t quite happened yet.
Recent Supreme Court decisions have made the arbitration clause a potent weapon against class actions in many areas of the law. Certainly in the wake of Concepcion, Italian Colors, and Oxford, businesses should consider including in their contracts specific language regarding arbitration clauses.
It is rare these days for a court to deny a motion to compel arbitration, especially where the parties are subject to an arbitration agreement. However, using the fundamental principle “arbitration is a matter of contract,” the Court in Zeltser v. Merrill Lynch & Co. did just that.
It’s a changed world for class action litigation, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court – one in which arbitration agreements are powerful, and class certification may be significantly more difficult to achieve. This article contains practice tips for navigating the new, and still evolving, legal landscape.
The recent comScore decision and others allowing privacy cases to proceed in the absence of actual damages may imply that the legal landscape is changing. In fact, comScore suggests that if a lead plaintiff in a purported privacy class action can overcome the standing hurdle by citing statutory damages, then the class certi­fication hurdle may also be manageable.
A discussion on emerging best practices for drafting arbitration clauses with class action waivers.
Through an exploration of the decision in the case of Rapcinsky v Skinnygirl Cocktails, this article defends the importance of paying close attention to the specifics surrounding the proposed class representative’s claims and how personal experience could be grounds for defeating a class.

Mr. Stewart opines on the growing consensus that class actions are not always the best means by which to resolve complex litigation.

Melissa H Maxman moderated an American Bar Association panel during the Class Actions National (Virtual) Institute that examined the ethical challenges and boundaries  to class action settlements. The panel explored several themes, including attorney communications with absent class members; potential conflicts of interest between class members; and objectors to class action settlements.

Melissa H Maxman presented a CLE on "Preventing and Defending a Private Civil Class Action Price-Fixing Lawsuit: Best Practices for a New Decade" at a program hosted by Lawline.  She outlined clear steps to ensure the best strategies to prevent and defend against different types of anticompetitive allegations.

Melissa H Maxman moderated a panel at the 2019 American Bar Association National Institute on Class Actions. The panel, “Collective Actions on a World Stage – A Global Musical,” discussed how other markets might benefit from class or collective actions in an increasingly harmonized world.
Partner Melissa Maxman spoke at the 22nd Annual National Institute on Class Actions hosted by the American Bar Association in Chicago. The panel discussion, “Big Price Tags, Big Issues”, explored the proliferation of third-party financing and its challenges.
Lawrence T Gresser spoke at the 2017 Forum on Defense Class Action regarding Rule 12, The Motion to Dismiss. The session covered how the courts have applied Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009) at the pleading stage, and reviewed the current status of other defenses that are often raised by defense counsel in motions to dismiss putative class actions.
Melissa H Maxman moderated a panel at the 2017 American Bar Association National Institute on Class Actions, titled “Tapping the Collective Consciousness: How Americans Feel About Class Actions and Why.” The panel discussed legislation designed to correct class-action lawyers’ alleged abuse of an inefficient legal system.
ABA 20th Annual National Institute on Class Actions in Las Vegas NV