Consumer Class Actions
AT&T. On behalf of AT&T, we successfully resolved a major class action, which was brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California by plaintiffs' lawyers who specialize in nationwide TCPA class actions. The plaintiff had alleged that AT&T placed a collect call to him in violation of the TCPA because the collect call introduction was prerecorded and the call went to his cellular telephone. After developing the facts in the case, and finding that the plaintiff would have standing problems, we obtained plaintiff's voluntary dismissal.
NBC, Fox, Endemol & American Idol Productions. After four years of litigation, our Manatt litigation and advertising teams negotiated extremely complex but highly favorable settlements for NBC, Fox, Endemol, American Idol Productions, and other TV game show promoters in putative national class actions alleging that text-messaging games violated state lottery laws, including California's Penal Code. After a series of procedural challenges in the litigation through which the courts were required to essentially give guidance as to what would constitute lawful promotional activity, Manatt literally saved this industry and helped advise its clients through a complex settlement that set the precedent for legality of these types of games going forward.
Rodale. We are defending Rodale against a class action complaint alleging that the magazine publisher violated California's Unfair Competition Law and Shine the Light Law with respect to the information it collects and shares about its magazine subscribers. In particular, the plaintiff contends that Rodale failed to designate contact information for customers to request how their information is used and failed to describe California customers' rights under the Shine the Light La. We recently filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Ticketmaster. For the past five years, Manatt has been defending Ticketmaster, EPI, and IAC in a putative nationwide consumer class action in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. The plaintiffs in the case allege that these defendants used an online advertisement in connection with a Ticketmaster.com purchase to deceive consumers into enrolling in a coupon program and paying a monthly fee. The Manatt litigation team initially defeated class certification in the district court in this high-profile and much-watched case, and are now litigating the case - which may establish new law in the area of online advertising for companies doing business in California - upon remand from an appellate court reversal based on the California Supreme Court's decision in the Tobaccofalse advertising litigation.
Automobile Club of Southern California. After two years of litigation, Manatt defeated class certification on behalf of the Automobile Club of Southern California in a case where the plaintiff sought to represent a class of members who renewed late (after the expiration date) and who were allegedly denied a full year of benefits because the Auto Club backdated their renewals to the prior expiration date. The plaintiff also claimed that the Auto Club failed to disclose its renewal policy, and brought claims for violation of California's UCL and CLRA, as well as breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The case against our client was the first to reach the class certification stage of several actions pending against other sister AAA affiliates around the country. The plaintiff has appealed the denial of class certification and the appeal is pending.
Ticketmaster & TicketsNow. We represented Ticketmaster and TicketsNow against a variety of plaintiffs and law firms that filed 11 nationwide class actions alleging that our clients deceived consumers into purchasing tickets on TicketsNow's website a higher prices. The actions were consolidated into a single nationwide putative class action in California and the trial court has preliminarily approved a nationwide class settlement.
Investools. We represented Investools, Inc., a subsidiary of TD Ameritrade, in a nationwide class action that challenged certain sales practices. We negotiated a pre-filing nationwide class settlement involving approximately 77,000 class members, which was approved over vigorous opposition. The matter is currently on appeal.
University Medical Pharmaceuticals. We were recently asked to take over the defense of University Medical Pharmaceuticals in a nationwide class action alleging violation of the CLRA and UCL laws related to advertising and sales of its "wrinkle free" beauty product.
Whirlpool. We are representing Whirlpool in class action litigation in Orange County related to an alleged defect in one of its dishwasher models
Brain Research Labs. We are defending Brain Research Labs, a nutritional supplement maker, in a purported false advertising class action brought in California state court on behalf of a putative class of purchasers. The claims are brought under the UCL and CLRA and involve alleged false and misleading product claims, failure to warn of adverse effects, and violations of various regulatory statutes.
United Marketing Group. We are defending United Marketing Group in a class action relating to alleged deceptive enrollment (both online and via telemarketing) in the client's programs. We settled the telemarketing dispute, and a motion to dismiss is pending for the online enrollment issue.
The Reader's Digest Association. We defended a putative class action alleging violation of federal and California law regarding mailing of and billing for allegedly unordered merchandise. The district court granted motions to dismiss and summary judgment as to all plaintiffs. The Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Rodale, Inc. In this putative class action, the plaintiff alleged that enrollment in a book program constituted deceptive business practice. We obtained summary judgment, and the Third Circuit affirmed in a precedent-setting ruling that the federal Unordered Merchandise Statute does not provide for a private right of action.
CashCall, Inc. Defense of class action alleging violation of California's eavesdropping statute based on call monitoring of customer calls. We assumed defense of case after the court certified a class. The trial court granted our motion for summary judgment as to the class claim.
Bloussant Cases.We defended a marketer of herbal breast-enhancement products in three actions coordinated by the California Judicial Council in San Bernardino County Superior Court. The cases included a putative class action suit, a private attorney general action, and a civil enforcement action by the San Bernardino County District Attorney. The cases settled on a nationwide basis.
BMG Columbia House. We defended BMG in a series of putative class actions in California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Missouri challenging marketing practices, including offers of free compact discs and application of shipping and handling charges. We obtained dismissals, affirmed on appeal, in precedent-setting reported decisions:
Empire Kosher Poultry. Defended putative actions alleging false advertising and violation of the UCL and the Pennsylvania Deceptive Practices Act. In California, the case was dismissed at the pleading stage on federal preemption and standing grounds. The plaintiff abandoned the appeal. In Pennsylvania, the case was dismissed at the pleading stage for failure to state a cause of action; the dismissal was affirmed in its entirety on appeal.
American Multi-Cinema, Inc. We defended AMC in a putative class action for violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. The. plaintiff appealed the order denying class certification to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where it was reversed. The case will proceed as a class action.
General Mills. We successfully defended General Mills against a putative representative action alleging that a sweepstakes promotion violated California's lottery laws. The trial court ruling sustaining our demurrers without leave to amend was affirmed on appeal.
Special Data Processing Corp. We defended multiple putative class action lawsuits filed in California and Alabama federal courts alleging violations of federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and pendent state law claims. The cases settled on a nationwide basis with injunctive relief only.
In Re Computer Monitor Litigation. Defense of consumer class action alleging false advertising, unfair competition and related claims based on alleged misrepresentations of the size of computer monitor screens. We represented a computer manufacturer and two retailers. The court approved a global settlement of all class claims after sustaining demurrer on res judicata grounds based on settlement of an action filed by the California Attorney General.
PAP Systems, LLC. We successfully defended a putative nationwide class action lawsuit against the marketer of a weight loss system. Putative class action lawsuit followed settlement of similar allegations in an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The case settled on a representative basis.
Media Services, Inc. We defended a telephone dating service in a purported class action alleging violation of the California Unruh Act and the UCL. The complaint alleged that the company engaged in gender-based price discrimination. The court approved a settlement of the California class action.
Advertising and Media
New Motion, Inc. We defended an Internet marketing company in a case alleging that it violated the California Unfair Competition Law by subscribing consumers to its premium text message service without their consent. The trial court approved a nationwide class settlement.
Rodale. We defended Rodale, magazine publisher, in a class action alleging false and deceptive business practices in connection with an in-store magazine promotion. We defeated class certification.
In re Ticketmaster Sales Practices Litigation.We are defending Ticketmaster in a putative class action alleging that consumers who attempted to purchase tickets online were deceived into clicking a link that transferred them to another website that charged higher prices for the same tickets.
Central Pacific Bank. On behalf of a large California-based independent bank and its board of directors, Manatt obtained a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of a shareholder securities fraud class action. The complaint was based on alleged false and misleading statements and omissions in a proxy statement issued by the bank in advance of a shareholder vote for purposes of authorizing a reverse stock split-which the company very much needed in order to have the necessary flexibility of financial and strategic options. After filing the complaint, the plaintiffs moved to enjoin the shareholder meeting and vote. We obtained the denial of that motion and the shareholder meeting and vote went forward as scheduled. Our motion to dismiss the complaint was subsequently granted with leave to amend, but with the judge essentially signaling that there would be no way for plaintiffs to amend to state a claim. Plaintiffs took their appeal to the Ninth Circuit, but later voluntarily dismissed the appeal, handing our client a complete victory.
Providian National Bank. We represented Providian National Bank in a consumer class action alleging that the bank increased credit cardholders' interest rates without having provided them with adequate advance notice of the rate increase. The matter was resolved and dismissed prior to any class certification.
Providian National Bank. We represented Providian in a consumer class action alleging bank improperly assessed annual fees when certain accounts were transferred to another bank. The case was resolved by a nationwide class action settlement.
CashCall, Inc. We defended CashCall, a California-based finance lender, in a class action alleging violation of California's eavesdropping statute based on call monitoring of customer calls. We assumed defense of the case after the court had certified a class., but were able to convince the court to subsequently grant our motion for summary judgment as to the class claim.
CashCall, Inc. We defended a putative class action seeking to rescind loans based on alleged violations of the California Finance Lenders Law. The trial court dismissed claims under the UCL and CLRA for lack of standing and denied certification as to rescission and declaratory relief claims.
CashCall, Inc. We defended a putative class action suit alleging that CashCall had violated the TCPA by contacting borrowers on their cell phones to collect debts. We substituted into the case after the district court had granted summary judgment against our client. However, the district court granted our motion to dismiss (reversing an earlier grant of partial summary judgment against the defendant) on the ground that the Hobbs Act vested exclusive jurisdiction over the case in the Ninth Circuit.
CashCall, Inc. We defended putative class‐action against a finance lender alleging violation of the California Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The case settled on an individual basis.
CashCall, Inc. We defended a putative class action against CashCall alleging claims under UCL and CLRA based on allegations that, among other things, the defendant offered loans at unconscionable interest rates. The case was voluntarily dismissed following an order sustaining defendant's demurrer to all claims.
Pacific Capital Bank. We defended Pacific Capital Bank in a putative class action alleging that the fees it charged on tax refund anticipation loans pre-computed interest that the bank was obligated to repay when borrowers paid off their refund anticipation loans early. The district court granted our motion to dismiss, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed in a case of first impression.
Auto Lease Tax Cases. We defended a putative class action alleging that national bank improperly collected use tax on optional items purchased in connection with auto lease. The trial court sustained our demurrer without leave to amend on the ground that the plaintiffs could not sue a private party seeking a refund of allegedly overpaid use taxes.
DowneySavings & Loan Association. Defended a class action case against savings association and mortgage broker alleging claims for fraud, conversion, and violation of the UCL based on the payment of mortgage broker fees. It was the lead case of four cases currently pending in the Complex Litigation Department of Alameda County Superior Court. Class certification was denied. Summary judgment was granted as to all claims.
Downey Savings and Loan Association, F.A. Defense of representative action under the UCL alleging violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act in connection with fees charged for real estate settlement services. Case settled on appeal following bench trial.
DowneySavings and Loan Association, F.A. Defense of putative class action alleging that a savings and loan's practice of purchasing conditional sales contracts from auto dealers violated state antitrust and unfair competition statutes. Case dismissed based on federal law preemption defense.
Cross Country Bank. Defense of nationwide class action against credit card company alleging that company violated the UCL in connection with solicitation of potential cardholders. Negotiated nationwide class settlement, which the court approved over multiple objections.
Cross Country Bank. Defense of credit card company in purported class action filed by the Milberg Weiss firm in federal court. Plaintiff alleged violations of state and federal law in credit card company's solicitations and billing practices. Plaintiff abandoned case after court ordered matter to arbitration.
Wells Fargo Bank. Class action challenging the bank's imposition of over limit fees on its cardholders. Class settlement approved.
Covenant Care & Kindred Healthcare. When we took on a putative class action lawsuit against Covenant Care, there was little recent precedent in favor of nursing homes on similar lawsuits. In fact, in July 2010 a California jury had awarded more than $670 million to a group of plaintiffs in a nursing home negligence class action lawsuit. That case was brought against Skilled Healthcare Inc. by a group of plaintiffs representing 32,000 nursing home residents as well as family members of deceased former residents. This case involved alleged understaffing of Covenant Care's 25 California skilled nursing facilities. We rose to the challenge of this case and secured a dismissal of the action. Following on the heels of the Covenant Care win, we also won dismissal of similar federal class claims against our client, Kindred Healthcare.
Dignity Health (fka Catholic Healthcare West). We prevailed at the trial and appellate level for our clients Catholic Healthcare West and the St. Joseph Health System, in a much-watched class action on behalf of a putative class of nurses and other hospital employees, alleging a conspiracy among Southern California hospitals to fix wages and terms of overtime.
Dignity Health. We successfully represented Dignity Health (fka Catholic Healthcare West) in a first impression decision affirming dismissalof a proposedclass action complaint that alleged system-wide violations of the California Labor Code and UCL based upon alleged failure to pay for rest and meal breaks for labor and delivery nurses.
Blue Shield of California. We defended Blue Shield of California against two nationwide class actions alleging that Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans conspired under RICO to defraud and underpay physicians and allied healthcare providers. Most of the co-defendants settled for significant amounts. But we obtained dismissal of all claims with prejudice.
Blue Shield of California. On behalf of Blue Shield, we achieved dismissal of a consumer class action challenging how Blue Shieldcalculated its HIPAA-guaranteed issue insurance policies,which are required to be offered when individuals are no longer eligible for COBRA.The plaintiffs filed two separate class actions againstBlue Cross and firm client Blue Shieldto challenge how these rates have been calculated over a 10-year period.In the case against Blue Cross, the court overruled the motions to dismiss. Meanwhile, we brought motions to dismiss on Blue Shield's behalf in the second case, arguing on different grounds.Although theCourt was aware of the result in theBlue Crosscase, thejudge in this case was persuaded by our arguments and ruled that Blue Shield was entitled to a judgment to dismiss.
Blue Shield of California. We represented health plan in a putative class action challenging amendments to the methods the plan used to assign rates to plan subscribers. The trial court granted motions to dismiss the putative class action with prejudice.
Blue Shield of California. Defense of putative class action challenging changes to the deductible provisions implemented mid-year. The trial court granted our motion to dismiss with prejudice.
Schulenberg v. Rawlins. Represented a company that enforces reimbursement liens on behalf of plans in a class action that alleged ERISA and RICO violations based on attempts on behalf of plaintiff's health plan to enforce medical reimbursement liens. District court granted motion to dismiss.
Blue Shield of California. Obtained dismissal of putative class action lawsuit alleging violation of emergency care provisions of the Knox-Keene Act. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal on ERISA preemption grounds.
Fortis Health. We defended a putative class action challenging use of an Ingenix database to calculate usual and customary charges for medical services. The trial court granted our motion to dismiss and indicated it would be inclined to deny class certification. In response to those rulings, the plaintiff group dismissed the case with prejudice.
Gallardo Class Actions. Defense of putative class action challenging calculation of co-payments in ERISA-governed plans. The district court denied class certification, disposing of the federal class action.
Kindred Healthcare. We represented Kindred Healthcare, California's largest nursing home provider, sought Manatt's assistance in warding off a class action lawsuit in which plaintiffs alleged that Kindred's nursing homes had violated the average per day nurse staffing requirements under the Health & Safety Code. Manatt obtained a decision granting its motion to dismiss the putative class claims filed against our client's nursing homes.
Kindred Nursing Centers West, LLC. We succeeded in obtaining a dismissal of a putative class action against several nursing home providers, alleging unlawful and unfair practices relating to the purchase of indemnity insurance for claims made under California's Elder Abuse Act. The Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal.
SNF Management Co. Defense of nursing home management company and several affiliates in a putative class action challenging the standard of care at the facilities and alleging violations of various state and federal regulations. The Orange County Superior Court sustained our demurrer, without leave to amend, concluding that the plaintiff lacked standing.
St Francis Hospital, et al. We obtained dismissal of RICO claims in putative class action against a hospital system for alleged improper lien and pricing practices.
Wage & Hour Class Actions
Chinese Daily News. We represented the Chinese Daily News in a wage and hour class action in which we took over the appeal after the client lost in a multimillion-dollar judgment after a jury trial when represented by another firm. We were not successful in the Ninth Circuit so we petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court granted our petition, vacated the Ninth Circuit's judgment, and remanded the matter to the Ninth Circuit for reconsideration. We subsequently obtained an order from the Ninth Circuit authorizing us to re-brief the case.
Del Taco. We scored a significant victory for Del Taco which, like many California employers, has fallen victim to the continuing wave of employment class action litigation. In this case, the plaintiffs claimed that Del Taco failed to provide the legally required meals and rest breaks to employees working on the graveyard shift. After two years of litigation, two rounds of supplemental briefing, and three judges, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, finding that they had not satisfied any of the requirements for certifying a class.
Tawa Supermarkets. We achieved a major class certification victory in a rest break class action brought against Tawa Supermarkets. Meal and rest break class actions have been clogging the courts for years and, due to the unsettled nature of the law, it can be very difficult to fight these cases, which often lead to multi-million dollar settlements. Despite this barrier, we defeated class certification of this class action (and we had previously defeated a bid for certification of a meal period class against the same client). The court adopted all of the arguments we made in the briefs, finding that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy any of the key class action requirements.
Tesoro Corp. We are currently defending Tesoro Corporation in several wage and hour class actions regarding meal and rest period claims.
Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. Defense of putative statewide class action seeking relief for alleged violations of state overtime, missed meal and rest break laws. Trial court denied class certification.
Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC. Defense of putative class action seeking relief for unpaid wages and waiting time penalties. The trial court sustained our demurrers to class claims on the ground that a prior settlement acted as res judicataand barred the plaintiff's claims.
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. We defended Kindred in a wage and hour class action brought against 20 California hospitals. The complaint initially contained broad allegations for overtime, missed meal and rest breaks and related wage and hour claims. After targeted fact-finding, we convinced the plaintiffs voluntarily to dismiss all of their claims for overtime and missed meal and rest breaks.
Caliber Bodyworks, Inc. We won an appellate court ruling in a class action overtime and meal and rest period case that resulted in the dismissal of three of the plaintiffs' causes of action and a ruling that the plaintiffs were not entitled to civil penalties on three other claims.
AMC Theatres. Defense of wage and hour putative class action for overtime and missed meal and rest breaks. We convinced plaintiffs' counsel to dismiss the case in its entirety.
Del Taco, Inc.Defense of putative meal period and rest break class action. Class settlement approved.
USA Petroleum, Inc. We successfully defended USA Petroleum against a wage and hour class action regarding overtime and meal and rest periods.
American Stores Company. Defense of putative Title VII class action. Our motion for non-certification of the class. was granted and our subsequent motions for summary judgment were granted for 12 of the 14 plaintiffs.
Antitrust Class Actions
Eagle Eyes Traffic & E-Lite Automotive.We are representing Eagle Eyes Traffic and E-Lite Automotive in an antitrust class action filed on behalf of plaintiffs who purchased aftermarket automotive lighting products directly from three Taiwanese manufacturers and their U.S. subsidiary distributors (In Re Aftermarket Automotive Products Antitrust Litigation.). Plaintiffs allege that the defendants unlawfully conspired to fix the prices of and allocate the market for aftermarket automotive lights between July 2001 and February 2009. The action is pending in the Central District of California. The companies and two of Eagle Eyes' officers were also indicted by the San Francisco office of the Department of Justice on price-fixing charges. The criminal trial is set for September 2012.
Gordon Auto Body Parts. We are representing Gordon Auto Body Parts in a class action in the Eastern District of Wisconsin involving an alleged conspiracy to fix the prices of products sold in the United States between 2003 and 2010. We have moved to dismiss the indirect purchasers' claims in part based upon Illinois Brick.
Inre Vitamins Antitrust Litigation. We represented client in a high-profile federal multidistrict litigation involving alleged price-fixing conspiracy in the vitamin industry. The case was settled favorably for our client.
Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). We successfully defended ARCO and obtained summary judgment for both a state and parallel federal consumer class action suit alleging price-fixing in the retail and wholesale gasoline market. We ultimately argued the case before the California Supreme Court and won a unanimous decision on groundbreaking issues involving both the standard of review in summary judgments and antitrust law.
Varian Associates. We represented Varian Associates in a federal antitrust class action involving alleged price-fixing and monopolization in the electron power tube industry.
Matsushita Electric Co. We successfully defended Matsushita in a class action alleging a warranty repair rate price-fixing conspiracy against the manufacturers of Japanese consumer electronic products.
In re Pharmaceutical Cases I, II, and III. We represented two drug manufacturers in a series of coordinated California state court class actions alleging price-fixing in the pharmaceutical industry.
Other Class Actions
Tesoro Corp.We are representing Tesoro in a multidistrict class action in Kansas where the plaintiffs allege that the price of retail gasoline should be adjusted based on the temperature of the gas at the time of sale. The plaintiffs' theory is that gasoline expands when heated such that a given volume has less mass at warmer temperatures than the same fuel would have at cooler temperatures. These putative class action lawsuits were originally filed against various fuel retailers in 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam and were consolidated in the District of Kansas.
Tesoro Corp. We defended Tesoro in a putative class action alleging that ethanol containing gasoline was a defective product, causing harm to boats with fiberglass fuel tanks. We prevailed on motion to dismiss because the case was preempted by federal law.
Female Athletes Title IX Class Action. We secured a precedent-setting decision when Judge James Lorenz of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled in favor of a group of female athletes in a Title IX class action lawsuit against the Sweetwater Union High School District. The judge determined that the school district unfairly favored boys' sports over girls' sports at Castle Park High School by giving the boys better athletic facilities, resources, and opportunities.
NFL Players Association. We secured a jury verdict of $28.1 million brought by our clients, in a case brought by a class of retired NFL players, against their union based on violations of licensing and marketing obligations.
American Stores, Inc. We represented American Stores in a putative class action involving allegations that pharmacy refill reminder programs violated California's Confidential Medical Information Act. The case settled after extensive law and motion limited the action's scope.
ReliaStar Life Ins. Co. We defended ReliaStar Life in a class action alleging that the drug exclusion in client's group accidental death and dismemberment policy did not comply with California law and therefore could not be relied upon to deny claims for accidental death submitted by California insured. The case settled on favorable terms after court announced that it would not certify a class.
ReliaStar Life Ins. Co. We successfully defended a class‐action on behalf of ReliaStar alleging improper offsets of workers' compensation permanent disability benefits against long‐term disability benefits paid to insureds under ERISA plans.