Class and Mass Action Cases

Bartlit Beck represents defendants in putative and certified class actions in both federal and state courts throughout the United States, and in conjunction with foreign proceedings, involving a broad range of claims, including antitrust, consumer fraud, environmental, medical monitoring, product liability, and breach of warranty. 

Bartlit Beck’s class action experience is both broad and deep. We have i) defeated certification in both individual class actions and multijurisdiction litigation, ii) removed class actions from state to federal court, including in one action ten years after litigation began and an adverse declaratory judgment had already been entered after trial, iii) appeared as trial counsel after class certification has been granted, iv) crafted class action settlements in both state and federal courts, and iv) successfully tried multiple class actions. We approach class actions as we do other cases, conducting an early case assessment, determining how to achieve success at trial, focusing on the client’s ultimate objectives, and confronting plaintiffs with the fact that we take cases to trial. For further information, please contact Jeffrey Hall or Rebecca Weinstein Bacon.

Below are summaries of some of the representative class-action cases we have handled.

Cases Tried to Verdict

Glazer v. Whirlpool
Trial counsel in bellwether class-action trial of design defect and breach of implied warranty claims regarding front-loading washing machines. After a three-and-a-half week jury trial, jury deliberated less than two hours before returning complete defense verdict.

Wagner v. NL Industries
Represented NL Industries in ten-week class-action jury trial in Philadelphia of claims of 7,500 residents seeking several hundred million dollars in personal injury and property damages due to lead emissions from factory over 35 years.

Jury verdict for NL on all issues.

Perrine v. DuPont
Retained shortly before trial to represent DuPont in class-action jury trial of toxic-tort claims in West Virginia State Court. Class of 8,500 alleged community contamination by zinc smelter emissions over a century. Jury verdict for plaintiffs.

Represented company on appeal to West Virginia Supreme Court, which ordered re-trial on statute of limitations defense and substantially reduced potential damages. Case settled favorably.

Agnes et al. v. DuPont
Lead trial counsel for DuPont in confidential three-month arbitration proceeding involving personal injury claims of 96 plaintiffs and property damage claims in toxic tort action alleging environmental contamination by DuPont blasting cap plant over a 92-year period. Result confidential.

Naftali et al. v. DuPont
Mass toxic tort action brought in New Jersey by 1600 plaintiffs alleging environmental contamination by DuPont blasting cap plant over 92-year period.  Represented DuPont in ten-week jury trial of personal injury, medical monitoring, and punitive damages claims of 10 plaintiffs.  Court dismissed punitive damages claims at close of evidence.  Jury awarded no damages to 7 of 10 plaintiffs.  Jury verdict for 3 plaintiffs, awarding damages totaling less than $500,000.

Dismissals and Class Certification Defeated

WeightSmart® Litigation
Co-lead counsel in consumer fraud class actions involving certain Bayer OneADay® products. Bartlit Beck defeated nationwide class certification in the district court, and successfully briefed and argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that certification of a New Jersey consumer class was inappropriate. The Carrera v. Bayer appellate decision, establishing plaintiffs’ obligation to prove that class membership is ascertainable, is the leading defense-side precedent on ascertainability.

In re Teflon Products Liability Litigation
Lead counsel for DuPont in multidistrict litigation including more than twenty proposed single-state class actions involving consumer fraud, warranty, and unjust enrichment claims arising from alleged defects with cookware made with DuPont’s non-stick coatings. Cases voluntarily dismissed after Court denied certification of all proposed classes.

Firefighter Hearing Loss Litigation
In litigation involving firefighters alleging hearing loss from exposure to emergency-vehicle sirens, obtained reversal of certification of a proposed design-defect “issue class” in Illinois state appellate court.

Dollie Williams v. Macon County Greyhound Park
In Rule 23(f) appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, obtained reversal of class certification based on post-Comcast concerns regarding differences in class members’ damages.

Retired Andersen Partner Litigation
Represented Deloitte & Touche in purported class action brought by retired Arthur Andersen partners.  Case dismissed. State court in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Baycol Litigation
Represented Bayer Corporation in proposed consumer class actions regarding its Baycol product. Following denial of class certification in federal court, obtained an injunction against state class-action litigation. Argued the United States Supreme Court case regarding the propriety of that injunction.

Defeated class certification in several state courts. After class certification was granted in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas), successfully struck plaintiff’s key expert after a live hearing. Summary judgment for Bayer.

Coumadin® antitrust and consumer fraud cases
Represented a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a series of antitrust and consumer fraud class actions directed at alleged misrepresentations regarding a pharmaceutical product and its generic competition. Case settled after defeat of multiple class certification attempts.

In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation
Lead counsel for Bayer CropScience LP and related companies in multidistrict proposed class actions arising from the introduction of genetically modified rice into commercial rice supply. Defeated class certification.

Other Representative Matters

LaPlant vs. Northwestern Mutual (W.D. WI.)
Lead counsel for Northwestern Mutual in purported class actions alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the determination of dividends for certain annuities.  Entered case when plaintiffs' sought damages after winning declaratory judgment trial in state court with a different firm representing Northwestern Mutual. Case was removed and the federal district court remanded to state court.  Entered appearance for Northwestern Mutual and obtained appellate review in the Seventh Circuit, and successfully argued (against David Boies for plaintiffs) for reversal of district court remand order, keeping the case in Federal Court.  Case subsequently settled.

Imprelis® Litigation
Lead counsel for DuPont in product liability litigation, including putative class actions comprised of more than 37,000 plaintiffs, alleging widespread property damage caused by DuPont's Imprelis® herbicide.  Worked with client and other firms to craft a voluntary resolution program that was subsequently embodied in a class resolution. Defeated preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs in Delaware Federal Court. MDL in Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Litigation (Seattle and Spokane, Washington 2006-2010)
Represented Ernst & Young in federal securities class action suit and related arbitrations surrounding the collapse and bankruptcy of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co., a $2 billion investment, real estate and insurance conglomerate.  Plaintiffs alleged accountants' negligence relating to audit work.  Won back-to-back complete defense verdicts in separate trials involving claims for hundreds of millions in investment losses brought by Metropolitan's insurance subsidiary and the bankrupt estate.  Class action case settled favorably shortly before trial.

Lewis v. NL Industries
Lead trial counsel for lead paint manufacturer in class action pending in Illinois state court.

In re Drywall Litigation
Representing USG in multidistrict litigation involving proposed class actions alleging Sherman Act price-fixing claims. 

Aspirin Combination Products Litigation
Lead counsel for Bayer in an MDL comprised of 11 alleged class actions relating to Bayer aspirin combination products.  MDL in Eastern District of New York. Litigation settled.

Vioxx® Consumer Class-Action Litigation
Represented Merck in Plubell class action brought on behalf of Missouri consumers alleging economic losses from purchases of Vioxx®. Brought in as trial counsel before case settled.

Cole v. Asurion and T-Mobile (Federal District Court, Central District of California; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
Represented Asurion and T-Mobile in class action brought by T-Mobile subscriber who purchased cell-phone insurance and claimed, on behalf of 1.4 million consumers, that Asurion and T-Mobile did not sufficiently disclose the terms of the insurance.  Won stay of case pending individual class member arbitrations; case settled after oral argument of plaintiff’s appeal of stay to Ninth Circuit.

In re Factor VIII or IX Concentrate Blood Products Litigation
Lead counsel for Bayer in MDL (Northern District of Illinois) alleging personal injuries from use of allegedly contaminated blood-based derivatives. Defeated class certification.