Class Action Defense



Wilson Elser maintains an experienced and effective Class Action Defense Practice that defends class actions in state and federal courts. 

Representative cases involve cybersecurity incidents (data breaches), securities claims, antitrust issues, consumer protection structures, product liability, internet conduct, fraud, employment discrimination, wage-and-hour claims and other labor offenses, and common law claims. Our attorneys work across disciplines to address the complex claims that characterize this area of the law, in many cases obtaining early dismissals of the named plaintiffs or defeating motions for class certification. 

If not defended properly from the outset, class actions can move quickly from distracting to unmanageable to crippling – or worse. As noted by the Seventh Circuit, “A grant of class status can propel the stakes of a case into the stratosphere.”

Our strategies for defending class action litigation are varied and always in keeping with our clients’ objectives. They include: 

  • Obtaining early dismissals of the named plaintiffs’ claims through motions to dismiss based on such defenses as the statute of limitations, lack of standing or injury, or failure to state a claim
  • Moving for early summary adjudication and/or proactively defeating class certification through effective, focused discovery
  • Obtaining stays of proceedings under the doctrines of primary jurisdiction and federal preemption
  • Removing class actions from state to federal court
  • Moving to consolidate and transfer multiple class action filings to the U.S. Panel on Multidistrict Litigation when appropriate
  • Achieving favorable settlements
  • Proceeding to trial, when necessary. 

We have experience conducting class- and merit-based discovery, taking interlocutory appeals of certification rulings and administering class action settlements. 

Class actions are increasing in complexity and frequency, and plaintiffs’ attorneys are often “racing to the courthouse” to file cases at the earliest possible opportunity. Cases are becoming more duplicative and tend to overlap, with actions filed in multiple jurisdictions during the same time period. Leveraging its national network of offices, Wilson Elser is well positioned to launch a coordinated multi-front defense in these situations. Our attorneys know how to simplify the most complicated cases, often by bringing motions either for federal multidistrict consolidation or for state and federal coordination. 

Well aware that class actions can generate onerous fees, we draw on our considerable litigation experience, our national footprint and our cutting-edge technologies to handle these matters efficiently. Reflecting the culture of the broader firm, our Class Action Defense attorneys acknowledge and respect the realities of each client’s bottom line.