Class Action Defense

Areas of Practice Wins

Following are some of our consumer class action successes:

  • Wisconsin state court. Class action brought by consumers who acquired 1999- and early 2000-model motorcycles. The complaint alleged that the client had designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold motorcycles with defective engines because of cam bearings that were faulty, inferior, and prone to sudden failure. Our team obtained a dismissal of action on economic loss doctrine grounds.
  • Pennsylvania federal court. Quarles defended client in action where the plaintiffs sought certification of two classes seeking damages for medical monitoring and alleged diminution of property value, which allegedly arose from perceived chemical exposure from past industrial practices at our client’s plant. After discovery demonstrated that our client’s activities could not be included in the major vector of alleged exposure, the matter was settled.
  • New Mexico state court.Quarles defended a national senior housing provider against a class alleging contractual and regulatory violations relating to terms of assisted living arrangements. The matter was tried successfully in 2006 and held on appeal.
  • Arizona federal court.Quarles defended direct sales firm Freelife International, Inc. against a consumer class action alleging marketing misrepresentations and consumer fraud.
  • Wisconsin and Illinois state courts. Quarles served as co-counsel for client and several of its subsidiaries in actions pending in both Wisconsin and Illinois. Both cases, brought by the respective state attorneys general, allege that the client and its subsidiaries violated state consumer protection and fraudulent practices acts by contributing to the publication of “false” average wholesale price statistics that were used by state Medicaid agencies to set reimbursement rates for pharmacists. In the Wisconsin case, Quarles also served as liaison counsel for a defense group composed of approximately 15 pharmaceutical manufacturers who are also defendants.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles defended client against a consumer class action alleging violations of bankruptcy law related to post-discharge return of security on cards.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles represented client in a putative class action alleging that client was providing illegal life insurance products. A motion to compel arbitration prior to class certification was granted.
  • West Virginia state court. Quarles defended a network marketing company in a nationwide class action alleging violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles served as local counsel for a software manufacturer in six indirect purchaser class actions, brought by Wisconsin residents, for an alleged overcharge on operating systems. Quarles was primarily responsible for strategic planning, overseeing expert analysis, briefing opposition, and arguing the class motions.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles attorneys represented the defendants in a derivative action concerning allegations of misconduct in an environmental contamination case. Although the plaintiffs sought millions in punitive damages, the case was resolved with governance changes and a payment of limited attorneys’ fees.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles attorneys served as national counsel for client in two class actions by indirect purchasers of sorbates, alleging price fixing.
  • Florida federal court and Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Tennessee, Maryland, New York state courts. Quarles is national counsel for one of nine manufacturers of commercial tissue paper products, that are accused of price fixing in direct and indirect purchaser actions.
  • Ohio federal court. Quarles represented client in proposed nationwide class action alleging violations of Ohio’s consumer protection act and breach of warranty. After Quarles filed a preemptive motion to strike class claims, the named plaintiff withdrew its class claims, settling for nuisance value and dismissing the case with prejudice.
  • New Jersey state court. Quarles represented client in proposed class action alleging design defect in screwdrivers and violation of New Jersey’s consumer protection act. After multiple negotiation sessions, we settled the case for nuisance value and dismissed with prejudice.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles is representing lighting manufacturer in proposed nationwide class alleging violations of Wisconsin’s consumer protection act and breach of warranty. 

Following are some of our securities/fiduciary litigation class action successes:

  • Wisconsin state and federal courts, Florida federal court, and California and Washington state courts. Quarles is defending numerous class actions brought against client relating to its dividend allocation methodology for its annuity line of business.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles represented the controlling shareholders in a securities class action alleging breach of fiduciary duty and challenging a merger transaction.
  • Wisconsin and Delaware federal courts. Quarles served as lead counsel for the seller and its board of directors concerning an $8.6 billion transaction. The plaintiffs alleged breach of fiduciary duty and federal proxy violations and brought motions to enjoin the shareholder vote. The team defeated the motions, thus allowing the shareholder vote to proceed.
  • Delaware chancery court and Washington state court. Quarles defended a number of class actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty and challenging the transaction. The firm worked successfully to move all of the matters to Delaware, and the matter was subsequently settled prior to the shareholder vote.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles is defending the outside directors against a shareholder’s derivative action complaint arising out of the embezzlement of millions of dollars by the client’s former Chief Financial Officer.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles served as co-counsel in an action for federal securities fraud alleging false statements concerning a subprime loan portfolio. The defendants prevailed on two motions to dismiss, resulting in judgment in their favor.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles served as lead counsel for Metavante in state court litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty and challenging a proposed $4 billion transaction with FIS. The matter was settled on terms favorable to the client.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles successfully obtained dismissal of federal breach of fiduciary duty claims against a pension administrator.
  • Wisconsin state court. Quarles represented the defendant in a putative class action alleging a breach of fiduciary duty in connection with a merger. The case was dismissed without any discovery being conducted.
  • Wisconsin federal and state courts. Quarles represented client in putative securities class actions and derivative suits stemming from allegations of market timing, brought by the attorney general of New York.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles represented client in a putative securities class action alleging improper revenue recognition and alleging scienter based on trading activity. The court granted our motion to dismiss.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles represented defendants in a securities fraud class action concerning public statements regarding actual and projected performance. The case was dismissed with prejudice after two motions to dismiss were filed.
  • Wisconsin and California federal courts. Quarles represented the defendant fund administrator in a securities fraud class action concerning a drop in the NAV of a series of mutual funds. The case was dismissed with prejudice.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles represented the defendant in a class action alleging violations of the Securities and Exchange Act. The case was settled on very favorable terms for our client.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles represented a national accounting firm in a nationwide class action and related suits alleging state law securities and racketeering violations based on allegedly improper audit procedures.

Following are some of our employment/labor class action successes:

  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended a health and welfare plan, plan sponsor, and plan administrator against ERISA breach of fiduciary duty class action claims. The class was approximately 450 individuals challenging the plan’s right to collect an additional contribution under the collective bargaining agreement and plan documents. Quarles successfully defended its clients against motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. A trial on the merits was completed in March 2009. Quarles prevailed on the most critical issue at trial and successfully defended that portion of the verdict on appeal before the Seventh Circuit.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against allegations that it misclassified approximately 70,000 employees nationwide as exempt from overtime requirements. The plaintiffs alleged a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Rule 23 classes under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) and the laws of numerous states. We obtained a very favorable settlement, involving a fraction of the putative class.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles successfully defended client against allegations that mechanics should have been paid for time spent passing through security, walking in the building, donning uniforms, and obtaining a cart. The plaintiffs alleged violations of the FLSA, IMWL, and Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA), totaling millions of dollars. Eighty individuals opted-in to the collective action, and the putative class involved approximately 150 individuals. Quarles obtained a very favorable settlement on the eve of summary judgment and class certification motions.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles successfully obtained the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims alleging a class under Title VII. The plaintiff alleged discrimination claims covering thousands of African-American management employees nationwide. Quarles was successful in getting the class claims dismissed despite several attempts by the plaintiff to amend and replead the class claims. The plaintiff’s individual claims are in discovery and still pending.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against claims that thousands of housekeeping workers were misclassified as independent contractors, in violation of the FLSA, IMWL, IWPCA, and RICO. The housekeepers worked for a housekeeping vendor that made the classification decision and was a defendant in the case. Because the housekeeping vendor serviced facilities in Texas and Illinois, the plaintiffs claimed that the client was liable for the alleged misclassification as a joint employer. Quarles vigorously defended the lawsuit and achieved a favorable resolution for the client.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended client against a 30,000-plaintiff class action claim that Arthur Andersen violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act when it closed down most of its operations. The Quarles team successfully obtained summary judgment and defended the result before the Seventh Circuit.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles defended a landscaping company in this combined collective and class action against allegations of failure to pay overtime, in violation of the FLSA and the IMWL, and allegations of violation of the IWPCA for purportedly requiring employees to pay for uniform purchase and cleaning. The case was favorably settled after the deposition of the named plaintiffs and before certification of the collective and class action.
  • Illinois federal court. Quarles served as lead counsel in matter involving race claims of disparate impact in promotions and compensation, based on subjective decision making. After discovery, the plaintiffs conceded they had no promotion claim and pursued only class on comp claims. Quarles defeated the class motion. Thereafter, only one named plaintiff pursued an individual action, and Quarles secured summary judgment.
  • Illinois state court. Quarles served as the lead counsel for client in case involving 300–400 minority police officers who alleged discrimination based on promotional exam to rank of sergeant. Quarles secured summary judgment.
  • Illinois state court. Quarles defended client in this class action brought on behalf of 3,000 Illinois package car drivers claiming they were owed overtime for having to work through their lunch hour. Quarles vigorously defended the lawsuit and obtained a favorable result for the client.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles defended a class and collective action brought by a significant class of mortgage loan officers in multiple states (including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota) who claimed minimum wage and overtime violations in connection with allegations that they were improperly classified as exempt from state and federal wage and hour requirements related to overtime and/or minimum wage obligations. Quarles obtained a very favorable settlement that limited the Rule 23 settlement class to Wisconsin employees and that was reached early in the litigation, with the result that it effectively controlled both plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense costs.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles defended claims brought by security officers who alleged they were improperly denied pay for compensable meal periods, in violation of the FLSA and state wage and hour claims. Following discovery and litigation related to the issue of certification, Quarles was successful in obtaining a very favorable settlement.
  • Wisconsin federal court. Quarles is currently defending its client against collective and class action claims in two related matters brought by seasonal migrant agricultural workers under the FLSA, the Migrant Worker Protection Act, various state wage and hour laws, and laws regulating the employment of migrant workers, including the H-2B Visa Program.
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