Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil has a long track record of successfully defending high-stakes class actions across a broad array of industries and substantive areas of law – antitrust, consumer financial services, consumer fraud, employment and labor, ERISA, insurance, product liability/mass torts, and securities. Many of these cases have been bet-the-company litigations that threatened the accepted business practices of an entire industry.

Our competitive advantages are our ability to understand our clients’ business objectives, readiness to mobilize teams across offices and practices to respond to pre-trial challenges, and a trial-ready approach that effectively addresses all of the risks raised by this kind of litigation, including potential regulatory and criminal liability, and the reputational risks that are frequently more important than the monetary exposure.

  • Our preeminent class action litigation practice has an impressive record in defending against some of the most complex class actions in the country, including numerous nationwide and multidistrict litigations in some of the largest, bet-the-company class actions to date.
  • We have achieved successful results for clients at every phase of the class action litigation process in both trial and appellate courts, in jurisdictions across the country. These successes include obtaining dismissals of class action complaints, defeating class certification, winning summary judgment motions, prevailing at trial or on appeal, and obtaining highly favorable settlements.
  • We have litigators in seven offices throughout the country, but rather than being compartmentalized by area or geography, our practices operate as an integrated practice group comprising lawyers with various areas of expertise drawn from our offices throughout the country. This cross-practice and cross-office “one-firm” approach allows us to undertake a coordinated analysis and readily manage complex class actions by bringing to bear the full breadth and strength of the firm to address our clients’ needs.
  • Our lawyers are thought leaders in the field of class action litigation, contributing articles to leading reviews and journals and frequently appearing as speakers and panelists at, among others, national, state and local bar conferences and conventions, continuing legal education courses, and industry meetings.

ANTITRUST

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Weil handles all manner of antitrust class actions, representing clients defending against virtually every kind of antitrust/competition allegation, including monopolization, cartelization, and price fixing in a broad array of industries (international art auctions, vitamins, carbon fiber, EPDM rubber, and milk, among others). Our trial lawyers work hand-in-glove with the group’s regulatory specialists to minimize client risk and achieve the most efficient and cost-effective solution. Our group’s experience with class actions in the antitrust arena – as well as in the allied area of consumer protection – is decades’ long. Our lawyers have been intimately involved in the evolution of antitrust law and many served in government agencies during formative periods of modern antitrust regulation.


CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES

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Combining substantive knowledge with in-depth procedural capability, Weil features one of the premier financial services practices in the United States. Our litigators have extensive experience with class action litigation, as well as with the government investigations, regulatory counseling matters, and corporate transactions that often arise in the class action setting.

Our litigators have compiled an excellent record of winning financial services cases, often on the pleadings, and of attaining like success in the appellate courts. We have particular experience in handling matters involving specific federal and state financial services regulatory schemes (e.g., TILA, ECOA, FCRA, RESPA, and state usury and installment sale statutes), the use of federal and state antitrust, UDAP, RICO, and other laws of general applicability to challenge practices involving financial services, and related litigation of class certification and arbitration clause issues. Our litigators also work closely with the firm’s Financial Institutions Regulatory group to monitor the latest regulatory developments impacting our clients’ businesses, including the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act.


CONSUMER FRAUD

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Weil’s approach to defending consumer class actions is one that has been honed over many years of representing clients in a diverse array of industries in cases that range from large, bet-the-company litigations to smaller statewide class actions. Overall, our approach is based on streamlined efficiency to pursue the simultaneous goals of an early advantageous resolution of claims (minimizing litigation risk and cost) while maintaining a trial-ready posture focused on achieving a positive result should a trial on the merits be necessary.

We closely collaborate with our clients to ensure we understand their businesses and strategic goals from the beginning. We also seek to leverage the company’s experience in past litigations.

Given the inevitable high stakes of consumer class actions, our initial focus is to explore whether an early resolution of the case is achievable – whether that is through a dismissal on the pleadings, defeating class certification, or prevailing on summary judgment. When our client is open to resolving a matter through a settlement, we explore ways to strategically and creatively devise acceptable settlement parameters in line with the client’s business objectives. We have had considerable success negotiating with class counsel and obtaining court approvals for innovative settlements.

Our firm also has the capability to handle regulatory investigations that often lead to class action litigations. With regard to these complex legal challenges, we have achieved successful, comprehensive settlements of both the regulatory matters and the related litigations.

Notable clients have included ExxonMobil, General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline, MasterCard International, Farmers Insurance Exchange, Panasonic, Bertelsmann Music Group, Symantec, Airborne, StubHub and MovieTickets.com.


EMPLOYMENT & LABOR

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Weil has deep expertise litigating class actions involving virtually all employment-related claims, including claims asserted under federal anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, ERISA, WARN, and USERRA. Litigators from our nationally recognized litigation practice frequently partner with other specialists within the firm that have extensive experience in, among other practice areas, bankruptcy, securities, and tax, to secure clients’ objectives. Our group has an excellent track record defending clients in high-stakes and high-profile class actions arising in a wide array of industries, and has done so at every phase of the class action litigation process in both trial and appellate courts throughout the country. Notable clients have included UnitedHealth Group Incorporated, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., AIG, Gate Gourmet, American Airlines, Inc., Avon Products, Inc., Bank of America, Lehman Brothers Inc., Enron, MCI, and Odyssey Partners.


ERISA

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Weil’s litigation department has extensive experience handling high-profile ERISA class actions involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty and improper benefit denials and reductions. We routinely deal with complex issues that require coordination of multiple disciplines – including bankruptcy, tax, labor and foreign law – to align legal solutions with business objectives, and our firm’s employment lawyers bring a broad expertise in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation law.

Our lawyers have achieved significant victories that established important precedents in the nation’s highest court and in cases affecting industry-wide practices, including health care, financial services, and professional services. We have represented numerous clients in crisis situations, including in early, precedent-setting “stock drop” litigations and in claims brought by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.


INSURANCE

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We have in-depth knowledge of the insurance and reinsurance business and the complex issues faced in the insurance industry. Our powerful blend of litigation and arbitration experience brings expertise to all sides of complex disputes, including successfully defending clients against private, government, and class action suits and representing plaintiffs in major cases of first impression.

Weil has a long track record of successfully defending insurers against some of the most complex class actions in the country, including numerous nationwide and multidistrict litigations in jurisdictions across the country. We have achieved successful results for clients at every phase of the class action litigation process in both trial and appellate courts, including obtaining dismissals of class action complaints, defeating class certification, winning summary judgment motions, prevailing at trial or on appeal, and obtaining highly favorable settlements.

Weil also has significant experience in handling internal investigations and in dealing with insurance regulators, including assisting clients with investigations by Congressional committees and state attorney generals.

Notable clients have included Farmers Insurance Exchange, United Healthcare, Genworth Financial, Zurich, HealthMarkets, The Hartford, Travelers, Swiss Re and Prudential on a wide variety of issues.


PRODUCT LIABILITY/MASS TORTS

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High-stakes products litigation typically requires our clients to mount their defense on multiple fronts, which may include class action litigation, multidistrict litigation, individual personal injury actions at the state and federal level, consumer fraud actions, actions by health care providers, False Claims Act litigation, actions by state attorneys general, government investigations, and internal reviews. We have played the role of national coordinating counsel in a variety of such matters and have worked seamlessly with teams of attorneys from other law firms in a cost-efficient manner to bring about successful outcomes for our clients.

We also have specialized skill in defending clients embroiled in parallel criminal and civil actions. The defense strategies employed in these cases can be quite complex, spanning multiple agencies and jurisdictions, where each proceeding may influence the outcome of others. Because many of our attorneys who handle governmental and internal investigations are former senior DOJ officials, federal prosecutors or regulatory officials, they have a keen understanding of the interplay between these simultaneous proceedings, thus enabling our clients to manage their legal risk more effectively.


SECURITIES

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Weil’s expertise with class actions features the firm’s nationally recognized Securities Litigation practice group. The group has defended issuers, directors, and corporate executives against virtually every kind of securities claim brought as a class action, including alleged violations of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, the Securities Act of 1933, and state law fiduciary duties resulting from, among others, the recent financial crisis, changes in corporate control, allegedly misleading investor communications, stock and/or earnings manipulation, accounting irregularities, insider fraud and misappropriation, market timing, late trading, and stock options dating and granting processes.

The Securities Litigation group has successfully handled Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) class actions throughout the country, securing victories at the class certification and motion to dismiss stages or arranging for favorable settlements when appropriate. The group also has significant experience in class actions and derivative litigation in the context of mergers & acquisitions and other change-of-control transactions brought by shareholder and/or derivative plaintiffs seeking to block and/or recover damages for merger activity.

 
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