A recent study found that despite the Federal Class Action Fairness Act and various state tort reform measures, the number of newly filed federal class actions has actually increased. This development can be attributed to a number of factors. Class actions are a favored procedural vehicle for the aggregation of large numbers of smaller claims, as well as an opportunity for plaintiffs’ lawyers to utilize the class mechanism to their strategic advantage. Since these complex cases are disruptive to operations, costly to defend, and a significant threat to business reputation and financial well-being, they require skilled defense attorneys to shepherd them through the process.
The Porzio Class Action Defense group has years of experience defending class action cases as primary counsel or as the local counsel member of the national defense team. Our extensive history handling federal and state cases enables us to develop key strategies to defeat certification and defend the underlying case. While defending the procedural aspects of class cases, our team also focuses on preparing for trial and, when appropriate, creatively devising mediation and settlement strategies. An added benefit of working with Porzio is the guidance provided by our resident former jurists in developing strategy and “mock” arguments and mediations.
Our team has defended class actions for companies in a broad range of industries, including chemical, pharmaceutical, medical device and distribution, title insurance, and consumer electronics. These cases involve a variety of causes of action, including strict liability, negligence, warranty, contract, trespass, property damage, nuisance, and environmental regulatory violations. We have also developed substantial experience in defending consumer fraud cases. Early in a case, our defense approach is to conduct an internal investigation of the claims with the assistance of preeminent consultants and experts. In doing so, we focus on the critical issues associated with class certification, as this is frequently the most important procedural and sometimes substantive issue. Our overarching goal is to “de-leverage” the plaintiffs’ certification case and ensure that the client is not unfairly pressured into a premature settlement that may invite copycat litigation. We always keep in mind the broader implications of the suits we defend by assessing the potential range of exposure, narrowing discovery through aggressive motion practice and case management, and positioning the case for dispositive motion practice before or after opposition to class certification.
While clients have their choice of counsel, it is no surprise when they choose Porzio. The principals in our Class Action Defense group offer a breadth of assets borne of decades of trial experience, a proven track record of defending class actions, a committed approach to aggressive investigation and planning, and an intensive background in working closely with a stable of preeminent consultants and experts to defend the litigation. Several of our lawyers are Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Civil Trial Attorneys. Each of our team leaders have more than twenty years of experience, and, collectively, more than a century. Their experience and dedication along with their cost-effective approach, commitment to communication, and client-lawyer team approach, set the Porzio team apart. For these reasons, companies and their national and regional counsel depend upon the Porzio “edge” when class action litigation brings them to New Jersey or the New York metropolitan area.
Steven P. Benenson Principal