Diversity & Inclusion
The Class Action Group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and affiliates (“Skadden”) defends some of the world’s largest, most influential corporations and individuals against the most significant complex class actions. In recent years, we have represented major insurers, manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and financial services companies, among others, on a broad range of class actions, including those alleging antitrust, consumer financial services, employment, mass torts/products liability, consumer fraud and securities law claims. We have handled some of the most highly visible class actions in the United States, including representing the underwriters in the WorldCom bondholder litigation, and major actions for clients such as Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Cendant Corporation, Citigroup, Farmers Insurance, Intel Corp., JPMorgan Chase, McKesson Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Pacific Life, Praecis Pharmaceuticals, Sprint, Sunbeam Corporation and Verizon.
The attorneys in our group have defended thousands of class actions in federal and state courts throughout the country and have served as lead counsel in numerous precedent-setting cases, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dabit decision, won on behalf of Merrill Lynch, which closed a loophole in securities law that allowed additional classes to bring litigation. We also are often hired as appellate counsel after a company has been unsuccessful in the trial court.
Additionally, we have been involved in numerous developments in class action law. For example, several attorneys in our group were instrumental in the passage of the Class Action Fairness Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction over class actions and prevents plaintiffs from “forum shopping” by filing their claims in state courts known to be plaintiff-friendly. We also regularly represent the Product Liability Advisory Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as amici in appeals involving important class action principles. For example, we successfully represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, a massive employment discrimination case in which the U.S. Supreme Court reversed class certification.
Our attorneys have been among the lead proponents of expanding the use and application of the “no injury” doctrine, which holds that a plaintiff fails to state a legally cognizable injury when he or she is merely seeking recovery for the alleged heightened risk of physical or economic injury. Also, we have developed and implemented the “classwide proof” concept in scores of class actions, persuading federal and state court judges to deny certification because the plaintiffs could not properly try their claims on a classwide basis. Further, we have combated efforts to water down the “injury” and “causation” elements of many causes of action through the use of “presumed reliance” and “market fraud” arguments.
Members of Skadden’s Class Action Group have received numerous accolades for their work, including recognition as leaders in their field by U.S. News — Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2015 and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In 2015, for the fifth consecutive time, we were named a member of the “Fearsome Foursome” — the four elite law firm litigation practices Skadden was selected by The American Lawyer as a finalist in its 2014 Litigation Department of the Year issue, as well as a finalist in the products liability section in its 2012 issue. Chambers USA 2013 recognized the firm for its antitrust, commercial, products liability and mass torts, and securities litigation practices, and listed numerous class action litigators as leading lawyers in their respective areas. We were named as a “standout” firm in the Class Action/Tort and Product Liability categories in a survey of corporate counsel conducted by BTI Consulting and published in 2014. We also were listed among Law360’s competition and securities groups of 2013.
Increasingly, a company facing a class action must navigate a number of concurrent challenges. For example, a products liability issue may give rise to securities lawsuits, government investigations, disputes with suppliers and crisis communications issues. How the company addresses any one of those issues can have a dramatic impact on the others. With approximately 600 litigators experienced in virtually every area of business law, we provide seamless representation, assembling interdisciplinary teams to handle the most complex cases; with 23 offices worldwide, we are able to field skilled counselors quickly to any location, no matter how remote. Our resources, combined with our extensive experience in class action litigation, uniquely position us to achieve efficiencies without compromising our commitment to excellence.
Skadden stands out for its depth, breadth and innovative strategies in defending class actions. We handle consolidated, multidistrict litigation and competing state and federal class actions. We also have extensive experience handling class matters along with parallel government enforcement actions. Our general philosophy in defending class actions is to respond very aggressively, taking a number of steps at the outset to eliminate or at least narrow litigation as soon as possible. This approach includes motions to dismiss to the extent they are available, motions for summary judgment following oral and written discovery, and motions to oppose class certification or to partially strike the class allegations.
Our lawyers counsel clients on initiatives to address litigation risks and exposure, thus reducing the potential for future class actions. We have a strong record of streamlining document collection, preservation, review and production — including conducting witness interviews and collecting documents from our clients’ offices anywhere in the world. Often, however, our team is successful in having class actions dismissed on the merits before any discovery begins.
We are skilled in negotiating settlements to resolve class cases at the optimum time in the life of a case. Our lawyers effectively use mediation and arbitration where appropriate. We also have extensive experience designing and negotiating global settlements. Our track record in successfully trying cases often contributes to our ability to secure the best possible settlements for our clients.
Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices