Notable Representations, Key Contacts
- 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.
- 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.
- We have litigators throughout the United States and Europe, but rather than being compartmentalized by area or geography, our practices operate as an integrated practice group comprising lawyers with various areas of expertise. 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, publishing a quarterly journal focusing on class action developments, 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.
Key Contacts for Antitrust:Eric Hochstadt and Carrie Anderson
Antitrust Selected Representations
Weil represents the Elite Rodeo Association (ERA), a newly-founded professional rodeo association, and several of its owners who are the best athletes, as plaintiffs in an antitrust class action lawsuit in Texas federal court challenging, as unfair, retaliatory, and illegal, bylaws passed by the dominant sanctioning body in the sport, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Among other anti-competitive restrictions, the new PRCA bylaws prevent ERA rodeo athletes from participating in PRCA-sanctioned events. Additionally, the bylaws prohibit rodeo committees and other contracting parties like facilities and vendors from participating in non-PRCA rodeo events, including ERA events, within 72 hours before or after any PRCA-sanctioned event. Nationwide, PRCA-sanctioned events take place several times per month, year-round, often with multiple events occurring simultaneously, meaning the 72-hour window before and after any PRCA-sanctioned event effectively prevents numerous entities involved in and necessary to the sport of rodeo from participating in an ERA event.
Plaintiffs allege violations of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act for an illegal group boycott and unlawful monopolization, and seek a court order preventing the enforcement of the current PRCA bylaws; the implementation of new anti-competitive bylaws prohibiting any professional rodeo athletes and third parties from participating in both ERA and PRCA events; and retaliation against ERA athletes.
Serving as counsel for Michael Foods, Inc. in a federal multidistrict antitrust litigation encompassing two nationwide class actions and more than ten individual lawsuits, Weil obtained a significant victory when the Court denied plaintiffs’ motion to certify a massive class of consumers that purchased eggs – seeking more than $7 billion in damages.
Plaintiffs had asserted numerous conspiracy claims against Michael Foods, other egg producers, and several industry organizations in this MDL, alleging a vast conspiracy to reduce output and anticompetitively inflate the prices of shell eggs and egg products in the U.S. from 2000 to the present. Plaintiffs collectively sought in excess of $10 billion in damages before trebling – $2.4 billion of which were damages sought by the indirect purchasers, plus attorney fees. Weil argued on behalf of all defendants in seeking to defeat class certification and in numerous discovery and expert disputes. Prior to the filing of these private civil cases, Weil successfully negotiated the closure of a preceding Department of Justice investigation with no action.
After five years of litigation, Weil achieved an impressive victory on behalf of clients, Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) as two of only a few defendants to achieve a complete dismissal. The court granted both Providence and THL individual summary judgment motions and ruled that the evidence failed to show that either private equity firm had any connection to any alleged conspiracy.
Weil has served as lead counsel for Providence and THL in this private nationwide putative antitrust class action lawsuit asserting broad ranging, industry-wide antitrust conspiracy claims against Providence and THL, and other private equity firms, in connection with 17 multi-billion dollar "club" leveraged buyouts of public companies in auction and proprietary sales processes from 2003 to 2007. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief on behalf of shareholders in every publicly traded company in the United States, as well as treble damages on behalf of shareholders who sold their shares to defendants in specific multi-billion dollar "club" deals. A putative class action complaint making similar allegations was filed in the Southern District of New York in 2006, and a voluntary dismissal of that complaint was successfully negotiated in 2007.
Consumer Financial Services
Key Contacts for Consumer Financial Services:John Mastando
Consumer Financial Services Selected Representations
Weil also successfully represented GEMB in a purported nationwide class action alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act based on, among other things, the plaintiffs’ claim that GEMB’s alleged “policy” of allowing mortgage brokers the “discretion” to impose charges in connection with mortgage loan origination led to minority borrowers being charged disproportionately higher interest rates and fees. The plaintiffs, a purported class of minority consumers, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs also sought to hold GEMB liable for subprime loans originated by another GE subsidiary, co-defendant WMC Mortgage, which originated billions of dollars in subprime loans and was one of the top ten subprime lenders in the country.
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 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.
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.
Key Contacts for Consumer Fraud:David Lender
Consumer Fraud Selected Representations
Employment & Labor
Key Contacts for Employment & Labor:
Employment & Labor Selected Representations
Weil 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.
Key Contacts for ERISA:Nicholas Pappas
ERISA Selected Representations
- Weil successfully represented UHG in a putative class action against Alliance-Bernstein and UHG alleging that the defendants misapplied the plaintiff’s plan’s requirements for coordination of her benefits with Medicare.
- Weil is representing Optum, UHG, and related entities in a putative class action by two California ambulatory surgery centers which allege UHG’s out-of-network reimbursement methods were arbitrary and capricious, and asserts claims under ERISA, RICO, and California state law.
- Weil is representing UHG and Optum in a class action complaint filed by members of a CIGNA health plan asserting antitrust, RICO, California state law, ERISA, and common law violations by the defendants.
- Weil represented UHG, MetLife, and American Airlines in a high-profile putative nationwide class action in which plaintiffs challenged United’s reimbursement of out-of-network providers, asserting ERISA, RICO, antitrust, and breach of contract claims.
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 the most complex class actions, 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 attorneys general.
Key Contacts for Insurance:David Yohai and Salvatore Romanello
Insurance Selected Representations
Weil successfully represented Farmers Insurance Exchange in a putative nationwide class action in New Jersey federal court alleging that Farmers Insurance Exchange breached its insurance agreements by using fee review computer software to improperly deny coverage for the class’ reasonable medical expenses. The Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint, and the Third Circuit later affirmed, and denied plaintiffs’ motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc.
Weil also successfully represented Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon and several affiliates in a putative class action in Oregon state court involving the handling of PIP claims and the use of software to assist in analyzing whether policyholders were only charged for necessary medical services. Weil was brought on to the matter nearly ten years after it was first filed and after numerous decisions on previous motions for class certification, motions for summary judgment, and subsequent appeals put the case back in the trial court with a putative Oregon class. Plaintiffs then filed for certification of that class. Weil opposed that class and moved for summary judgment on Farmers’ behalf, and the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.
Weil obtained summary judgment for Genworth in a class action in federal court in New Jersey (following removal pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act) asserting claims for breach of contract in connection with premium rates for long-term care insurance policies.
Weil also defended two nationwide insurance class actions in New Mexico state court asserting claims for breach of contract, failure to disclose and violations of state unfair and deceptive trade practices statutes.
Product Liability/Mass Torts
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 particularly expansive experience 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.
Key Contacts for Product Liability:Arvin Maskin and Diane Sullivan
Product Liability Selected Representations
Weil’s Securities Litigation practice 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 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.
Key Contacts for Securities Litigation:Joseph Allerhand and John Neuwirth
Securities Selected Representations
Weil Named Class Action “Practice Group of the Year”
Weil litigators “distinguish themselves by the sheer variety of class action categories they tackle…”
Weil again proved its “class action prowess” in 2015 through “strategic use of data” and other “standout legal maneuver[s].”