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CLASS ACTIONS

Gordon Arata has national experience in complex class action litigation. As more class actions than ever are filed, we defend our clients in the tobacco, pharmaceutical, vitamin, securities, retail, oil and gas, insurance, public utility, and telecommunications industries as they have faced greater numbers of nationwide and statewide class action suits. We have also represented management in wage and hour class action litigation in many industries.

We routinely defend class actions on behalf of a diverse group of national, regional and local clients, providing aggressive, effective yet cost-conscious representation on a broad range of commercial and product related issues.  The following examples illustrate the range and success of our class action work.

Our firm has for years represented Lorillard Tobacco Company in federal and state courts.  These court actions have been aimed at certifying a large class action of persons allegedly addicted to smoking through the tobacco companies' purported manipulation of nicotine levels and concealment of the addictive nature of cigarettes. Our firm has handled depositions, hearings, motions, and all aspects of trial preparation.

We defended Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. in two national class actions filed in Louisiana, alleging that Schwab wrongfully failed to disclose to customers its receipt of order flow payments and also violated its duty of best-execution. Every strategic decision had to consider the implications for parallel cases filed throughout the country by a consortium of plaintiffs' lawyers, for whom Louisiana ultimately became the favored forum. We worked with defense counsel in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. handling similar cases. Having litigated various issues through the Louisiana appellate system and on to the Louisiana Supreme Court ten times over the course of five years, our lawyers won a critical Louisiana appellate court decision holding that the plaintiffs' claims were preempted by federal law. As a result, both class actions settled favorably for our client.

Our firm represented Lonza, Inc., one of many vitamin manufacturers sued in a parens patriae action filed by the State of Louisiana alleging an international price fixing conspiracy in the vitamin industry. During much of the pretrial phase, we acted on behalf of all defendants as liaison counsel with the plaintiffs' lawyers. We coordinated strategy with national counsel for all of the vitamin manufacturers, who we are also defending in a multidistrict suit lodged in federal court in the District of Columbia.

We represented Kmart Corporation in defense of a putative national class action brought on behalf of fleet contract customers alleging breach of contract and fraud in connection with Kmart's former automotive services department. The result:  the state court judge granted our motion to strike the class allegations, granted summary judgment and dismissed all of the plaintiffs' claims.

Our attorneys represent Entergy Corporation, a major electric public utility, and its subsidiaries in numerous class action suits, several of which are pending currently. We have defended many of these suits concurrently on contractual and antitrust issues in courts and on regulatory grounds before the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the Council of the City of New Orleans. Several of these cases have been successfully litigated, and we recently secured a favorable settlement of one case after gaining court approval in a contested fairness hearing.

Gordon Arata represented a large cable provider in a consumer class action lawsuit alleging that their late fee policies and procedures imposed on delinquent cable television subscribers under their cable subscription agreements constitute unlawful stipulated damages. The case involved the extensive use of experts and included several rounds of mediation. Our lawyers have worked with the provider's national counsel in defending the case through depositions, document productions, hearings and pretrial preparation. Similar lawsuits have been filed against cable television companies across the country, and defending these proceedings takes extensive coordination and strategic planning with national counsel and corporate counsel.

Our oil and gas attorneys have extensive class action experience.  We defended Apache Corporation in federal court in Corpus Christi, Texas and in state court in Lake Charles, Louisiana against claims attacking industry-wide crude oil pricing and marketing practices.This multidistrict, multi defendant class action litigation involved state law breach of contract and tort claims, as well as federal and state law antitrust claims. The federal district court approved multiple settlements after a week-long fairness hearing, which survived various challenges on appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Other class actions have involved environmental remediation claims, natural gas pricing and measurement issues, royalty claims and lease cancellation claims.



Attorneys
Antis, Jr., Phillip J.
Copley, Steven W.
Currault, Donna Phillips
Eagan, Jr., Ewell "Tim" E.
Gordon, Demarcus J.
Grimsal, A. Gregory
Knister, Terrence K.
Landrieu, Martin E.
Simon, Paul B.
Sinor, Jr., Howard E.
Stinneford, Charles L.
White, Tina Crawford


Articles
An Introduction to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (Oct. 28, 2009)
"Help Me Help You" With E-Discovery: Working With Outside Counsel to Prepare for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (Oct. 28, 2009)


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