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Class Actions & Multi-District Litigation

Vinson & Elkins attorneys regularly defend high-stakes class actions and complex multi-district litigation (MDL) across the country. We have broad and deep experience in industries frequently targeted in class and MDL actions, including aviation, electronics and technology, manufacturing, oil and gas, and securities.  We thrive in the web of procedural and substantive issues that arise in these complex matters, always guided—and driven—by our clients’ business goals.

Technical & Substantive Experience

V&E handles all aspects of class actions, mass actions, and multi-district litigation, from filing through trial and appeal. When civil litigation proceeds alongside a parallel government inquiry or investigation, our class-action and MDL team works hand-in-hand with our white collar practice to coordinate the defense of potential civil and criminal liability. In recent years, our lawyers have performed these roles with great success in many substantive areas, including antitrust, securities, toxic torts, and products liability.

Class certification is often the bet-the-company stage of a bet-the-company case. Through broad experience, our lawyers have gained a deep appreciation of the intricacies of class certification under both state and federal law. Most importantly, though, our lawyers know how to develop the facts unique to a case and how to marshal those unique facts to oppose class certification in a particular court. We know, for example, how to find and use economic data and analysis to combat a fraud-on-the-market theory in a securities class action or a presumption of antitrust injury in a price-fixing MDL.  We have experience developing the unique facts of a particular market or industry to show the claims of putative class members are so different that a class cannot be certified.

We also understand the day-to-day of complex litigation, such as how to work with—and lead—a large joint-defense group to coordinate the defense of a complex, multi-year, multi-defendant class action or MDL. We know how to spread the labor as required to achieve results and manage costs. Just as importantly, we know how to do so without losing our ability to advocate our clients’ individual interests when necessary. The same is true when a lone defendant faces simultaneous litigation of a single issue in several courts scattered around the country: we know how to pursue favorable results efficiently. As national coordinating counsel engaged to supervise many similar cases pending in state and federal courts around the country, we have helped manufacturers, retailers, and others minimize duplication of effort and ensure that the local lawyers trying individual cases for our clients in their local courts have and use the shared knowledge of a well-coordinated, nationwide defense.

Partnering with Our Clients

Class actions often pose huge financial risks—frequently, the greatest our clients will ever face. They can also threaten the mergers, acquisitions, and innovations that propel businesses into new markets and new eras.  We understand these perils.  So, we work closely with our clients to draft practical case strategies to meet client objectives both inside and outside the courtroom, concentrating not only on the immediate outcome of a particular motion or trial, but also on protecting our clients’ reputations and controlling collateral consequences in business transactions, in other litigation, and in regulatory matters. We never lose sight of the ball—our clients’ long-term goals.  In short, we are courtroom lawyers who litigate class actions with both power and finesse, always mindful of managing potential exposure in ways best calculated to achieve clients’ overall business objectives.

Experience Highlights

  • (E.D. Mich.) — Defending a leading automobile parts supplier and its affiliates in class action multi-district litigation pending in the Eastern District of Michigan

  • (W.D. Okla.) — Defeated class certification on state-wide royalty underpayment claims in Oklahoma federal court

  • (N.D. Ga.) — Representing an airline in an MDL putative class action alleging price-fixing of checked baggage fees, where plaintiffs seek more than $1 billion in damages before trebling

  • (D.N.M.) — Defeated certification of a nationwide class action filed against an insurance company involving the proper calculation and payment of lost wage claims

  • Successfully represented a financial services firm in In re Municipal Derivatives Antitrust Litigation, an antitrust  MDL putative class action and series of opt-out lawsuits alleging bid-rigging in the municipal derivatives industry

  • (Kan.) — Obtained a district court order overruling objections to approval of a class action royalty settlement and affirmance of the district court order by the Kansas Supreme Court

  • (N.D. Cal.) — Defending a foreign supplier and its U.S.-based affiliate in class action multi-district litigation related to allegations of price-fixing in the lithium ion batteries industry

  • (S.D.N.Y.) — Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of publicly traded frac sand producer and supplier and its directors and officers in federal securities class action lawsuit alleging violations of Section 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act and Section 11 of the Securities Act arising from initial public offering; obtained dismissal in related derivative litigation in Texas state court

  • (Md. Cir.) — Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of an insurance company in a putative class action involving the alleged late payment of PIP claims

  • (Tex. Dist. − Dallas Cnty.) — Represented Texas’ largest electric transmission and distribution utility, securing a dismissal of a consumer class action relating to the implementation of advanced meters

  • Representation of technology companies in products claims, including those involved in wearable technology in product liability and class action claims; routinely counsels consumer products technology companies on risk avoidance issues