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Covington regularly defends companies in class actions in nearly every major substantive area in which such suits are brought, including antitrust, consumer protection, product liability, employment, ERISA, and securities, among others.
We have successfully resolved class actions through motions to dismiss or summary judgment, by defeating class certification, and, where necessary, through trial and/or appeal. We pride ourselves on bringing the right resources to every case, including our deep regulatory and industry expertise.
Covington’s class action experience is both broad and deep, and we are often called upon to deal with our clients’ thorniest class action problems. Our litigators have been successful in obtaining the dismissal of class action lawsuits, the outright denial of class certification, and decisions limiting class certification in novel ways that substantially reduce our clients’ potential exposure. Our combined expertise in the intricacies of class action procedure and strategy, the substance of the law, and the special considerations affecting individual industries provides an invaluable advantage in defeating attempts to pursue and maintain large damages classes. In defending these cases, our litigators work closely with our leading regulatory and industry experts, whose deep knowledge of relevant regulatory frameworks often gives our clients the extra edge needed to achieve their litigation goals.
We often act as lead counsel in multi-defendant cases where it is important to our client that we take that role. But we also consider at all times the cost-effectiveness of any proposed strategy to ensure that the level of effort (and resulting cost) of our activity is appropriate under the circumstances. We have deployed our depth of experience to negotiate favorable settlements of class action claims structured to minimize the financial impact on our clients and to maximize protection against new claims.
Represented JPMorgan Chase in numerous consumer class actions and attorney general representative actions on various practices relating to credit cards.
Represented Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Healthcare in consumer class actions arising out of recall of children’s medicines.
Represented Pixar and Disney in multi-defendant antitrust class actions alleging unlawful agreements among certain Silicon Valley firms and animation studios to limit their recruiting of each other’s employees.
Represented Wells Fargo Bank in consumer class actions under the laws of multiple states challenging fees, disclosures, and other banking practices.
Represented Samsung in consolidated antitrust price-fixing and deceptive practice class actions involving liquid crystal displays.
Represented the former CEO of IndyMac Bank in multiple securities and ERISA class actions.
Achieved favorable resolution for Patagonia in a putative class action alleging wrongful collection of personal information in connection with credit card transactions.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against LinkedIn alleging violations of the Stored Communications Act and state law. The complaint asserted that LinkedIn disclosed LinkedIn user identification numbers and LinkedIn URL addresses to third party advertising companies, which allowed those companies to correlate the identity of a user with his or her previously anonymous Web browsing history.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against Microsoft, CBS, Microsoft, McDonald’s, and Mazda alleging violations of the Wiretap Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and state laws. The complaint alleged that an online ad network used Flash cookies and other tracking mechanisms to build user profiles for the purpose of serving targeted advertising.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against National Public Radio alleging violations of the Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, and state laws. The complaint alleged that mobile app developers wrongfully transmitted personal information to third party advertising companies.
Achieved summary judgment for Microsoft in a putative class action alleging unauthorized collection of geolocation information from the plaintiffs’ mobile devices. After a claim under the Wiretap Act was dismissed at the pleadings stage, we successfully obtained summary judgment on a remaining claim under the Stored Communications Act.
Representing Union Pacific Railroad in a wide variety of regulatory, legislative, and antitrust matters, including ongoing rulemakings involving rail rates and access to customer facilities and a multidistrict class action litigation alleging price-fixing of fuel surcharges.
Defending Sherwin-Williams in a putative class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in connection with a commercial text message program for paint contractors.
Achieved a favorable resolution for Shoe Show in a putative class action alleging violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act for allegedly printing expiration dates on credit card receipts.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against AOL alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The complaint sought to hold AOL liable for misdirected text messages sent by users of AOL’s Instant Messenger system.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against AOL alleging violations of the Wiretap Act, Video Privacy Protection Act, and numerous state laws. The suit alleged unauthorized collection of personal information from the plaintiffs’ computers using “Flash cookies” and unlawful disclosure of video viewing information to third parties.
Achieved dismissals of three putative class actions against Cable One, a cable and Internet service provider, in litigation involving claims under the Wiretap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and related state laws. The litigation arose out of a third party’s test of a system using “deep packet inspection” for the purpose of serving targeted advertisements.
Representation of Sony BMG Music Entertainment in a class action lawsuit challenging royalties for downloading music and in connection with an insurance coverage dispute arising out of damage allegedly caused by DRM software included on music CDs.
Secured Second Circuit affirmance of a summary judgment ruling in favor of our client United Technologies in a 401(k) plan expense class action lawsuit, for which plaintiffs had calculated alleged damages of $230 million. Taylor v. United Technologies Corp., 354 Fed. Appx. 525 (2d Cir. 2009).
Sony BMG Music Entertainment in a class action lawsuit brought by the Allman Brothers Band and Cheap Trick on behalf of all artists whose contracts pre-date the era of digital downloaded music. Sony BMG pays the artists under the applicable royalty rate for album sales at brick-and-mortar record stores, while the artists claim that Sony BMG should be paying a much greater royalty rate for downloaded music.
Represent Alps Electric in putative class actions alleging price-fixing in the heater control panel market.
Represent Keihin Corporation in putative class actions alleging price-fixing in the fuel injection systems business.
Covington successfully represented Eli Lilly and Company in a major RICO class action involving the prescription drug, Zyprexa. After the District Court denied Lilly’s motion for summary judgment and certified a class of tens of thousands of “third party payor” plaintiffs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed those decisions, holding that the case could not proceed as a class action, and that Lilly was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claim that the price of Zyprexa was too high.
Represented American Petroleum Institute in Comer, putative class action alleging industrial activities contributed to global warming, causing a rise in sea levels and adding to the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina, and thereby causing property damage to plaintiffs.
Representation of International Dairy Foods Association against a class action in Virginia state court alleging deceptive marketing of the potential weight-loss benefits of consuming milk.
Represented Bank of America in nationwide class actions challenging interchange fees paid on ATM and credit card transactions.
In obtaining the dismissal of an antitrust class action alleging that a number of credit-card issuers conspired to adopt arbitration clauses in their credit card agreements. 2006 WL 2685082 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 20, 2006).
Representation of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) against false advertising claims based on a KFC promotion that were asserted as a class action in the Western District of Virginia.
Represented Bertelsmann, Inc. in multi-district antitrust class action litigation alleging price-fixing and other violations of antitrust laws with respect to digital music.
Represented Expedia in multiple national antitrust class actions relating to hotel bookings.
Represented Union Pacific Railroad Company in multidistrict litigation alleging price-fixing of freight fuel surcharges.
Represented numerous food and cosmetics companies in responding to demand letters and class actions under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law arising out of alleged false and misleading statements on labels and marketing materials.
Representation of UBS Financial Services in an employment discrimination class action brought on behalf of minority financial advisers.
Represented the National Football league in a class action challenging the League’s licensing arrangements for the use of team marks and logos on apparel.
Represented the NFL in securing the dismissal of class action claims brought by retired players alleging a conspiracy to restrain a market for the sale of their images and likenesses.
Counsel to Merck Animal Health defending purported class action claims related to its animal diabetes medication, Vestulin.
Represented Eli Lilly in a consumer fraud class action alleging that the labelling for one of its prescription medicines was inadequate and misleading.
Represented media companies in class actions alleging improper collection and/or disclosure of user information.
Represented The Procter & Gamble Corporation in California, New York, Florida, and Minnesota class actions challenging the labelling of a wipes product as flushable.
Representation of Purdue Pharma in class action litigation in multiple states alleging violations of consumer protection laws in the marketing of OxyContin.
Represent the American Athletic Conference in a putative antitrust class action challenging NCAA and Conference rules on financial aid limits for student athletes. This lawsuit challenges the very existence of amateur collegiate athletics.
Representation of Merck in a class action alleging injuries from a product manufactured to regulate diabetes in animals.
Covington obtained a ruling from the appellate court that Lilly was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claims and that the “third party payor” plaintiffs’ claims related to Zyprexa pricing could not proceed as a class action, as initially certified by the district court.
In securing a stay of antitrust and related class-action claims in deference to arbitration clauses in credit-card agreements. 361 F.Supp. 2d 237 (S.D.N.Y. 2005).
Represented automotive parts suppliers in antitrust class actions alleging price-fixing for automotive wire harness systems and other parts.
Covington successfully represented the National Football League in a class-action antitrust case in which the NFL Players Association and ten prominent players sought to enjoin the NFL’s lockout of its player-employees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled for the National Football League, vacating the injunction entered by the District Court on the ground that the injunction violated the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which prohibits judicial interference in labor disputes.
Defending Huawei, a Chinese mobile handset maker, in a putative class action alleging violations of the Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, and various state laws. The suit stems from the allegation that third-party mobile analytics software transmitted data about mobile device users’ activities to other parties without authorization.
Achieved dismissal on summary judgment of a putative class action against Hulu alleging violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The complaint alleged that Hulu disclosed to third parties the video viewing information of individual Hulu users.
Achieved dismissal of a putative class action against The Huffington Post alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The suit asserted unlawful transmission of unsolicited text messages.
Representation of Wells Fargo Bank in numerous consumer class actions brought in state and federal courts in California invoking the state’s false advertising statutes with respect to the bank’s sales of products and services.
Represented Valeant Pharmaceuticals Int’l, Inc. in antitrust class action alleging wrongful exclusion of generic competition.
Represented a global bank in class actions involving antitrust, commodities fraud, and RICO claims relating to alleged manipulation of financial benchmarks, including the London Interbank Offering Rate (LIBOR), foreign currency exchange benchmarks, and ISDAFIX®
Secured district court ruling dismissing a putative ERISA class action on the basis of the statute of limitations. Gelesky v. AK Steel Corp. Pensions Agmt. Plan, 828 F. Supp. 2d 935 (S.D. Ohio 2011).
January 3, 2017
WASHINGTON—Law360 has named six Covington lawyers as MVPs in their respective practice areas. The awards single out lawyers from across various practice areas based on their “success in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters, and record-breaking deals.”
The Covington lawyers recognized as Law360 MVPs are:
Shara Aranoff, International Trade. Ms. ...
December 21, 2016, Law360
Law360 selected Derek Ludwin as a 2016 Sports MVP and profiled his work over the past year, including his defense of the U.S. Olympic Committee against an antitrust challenge to its longtime ban on on-field advertising brought by Olympic runner Nick Symmonds through his company, Run Gum. “This is an organization that a lot of us grew up following. It’s the ...
December 5, 2016
WASHINGTON—SportsBusiness Journal has named Doug Gibson and Gregg Levy to its list of the “50 Most Influential People in Sports Business.” Mr. Gibson and Mr. Levy are two of only four lawyers in private practice on the list, which also includes league commissioners and team owners, broadcast industry and sponsor company CEOs, and other high-profile executives in ...
October 10, 2016
LONDON—Elaine Whiteford has joined Covington as a partner in the European Dispute Resolution practice resident in the firm’s London office.
Ms. Whiteford’s practice focuses on contentious competition law matters and follow-on damages litigation, challenges to regulatory decisions, cartel and other regulatory investigations, and other types of commercial ...
June 7, 2016, Law360
May 16, 2016, Covington Alert
In a decision closely watched by businesses that are the targets of consumer class action lawsuits, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that a plaintiff asserting a statutory claim must make a showing of particularized and concrete harm sufficient to establish Article III standing, even if the underlying statute provides for statutory damages without a separate ...
April 21, 2016, Daily Journal
April 20, 2016
LOS ANGELES — Covington partners Emily Henn, Robyn Polashuk and Sonya Winner have been named to the Daily Journal’s annual list of “Top Women Lawyers” in California. The list recognizes 100 lawyers who “try complex commercial disputes and put together industry-transforming deals.”
Ms. Henn, based in the firm’s Silicon Valley office, co-chairs the firm’s Class ...
March 29, 2016, Global Competition Review
Robert Wick discusses important themes as they relate to antitrust enforcement in the US and abroad in this interview with Global Competition Review.
March 22, 2016, Covington Alert
March 8, 2016, Global Competition Review
Alex Leitch and Kenny Henderson are quoted in this GCR article discussing the launch of the first opt-out class action in the UK.
According to Leitch, “If the case is not settled and the class is granted a collective proceedings order, this will be the trickle that may form into a steady flowing stream.” He continues by stating that the class seems to be ...
September-October 2015, CDR News
Brussels-based partner Peter Camesasca offers insight on how lawyers are advising claimants and defendants on the new UK class action regime in an article featured in the CDR News September-October 2015 issue. Camesasca says, “What we clearly do see is that there are a number of law firms who are touting this new regime very aggressively…these firms are seeing ...
September 28, 2015, Financial Times
London partner Alex Leitch comments in a Financial Times article on the new UK legislation that will allow US-style class action lawsuits when there are breaches of competition law. If the rules are successful, lawyers predict class actions could be applied to other areas, said Mr. Leitch.
September 14, 2015, Law360
September 14, 2015, Journal of European Competition Law & Practice
September 14, 2015, The Law Society Gazette
February 25, 2015, Global Competition Review
Covington'sPeter Camesasca is quoted regarding a Düsseldorf court confirming that the funding model used by Cartel Damage Claims (CDC) in its case against cement cartelists is illegal.
"Peter Camesasca, at Covington & Burling in Brussels, says while the ruling is good news for defendants in that it makes group actions in Germany more difficult, it goes against ...
December 22, 2014, American Lawyer
Covington's Michael Imbroscio, Mark Lynch and Phyllis Jones are mentioned in these articles regarding their successful representation of Eli Lilly & Co.
December 22, 2014, Law360
WASHINGTON, DC, July 24, 2014 — Covington & Burling on Thursday secured an appellate victory on behalf of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Chiquita Fresh North America LLC in long-running litigation brought by more than six thousand Colombian plaintiffs. Beginning in 2008, these plaintiffs asserted claims against Chiquita under the Alien Tort Statute and ...
January 15, 2014, Covington E-Alert
SAN FRANCISCO, May 9, 2013 — Covington & Burling partners Amy Toro and Sonya Winner have been named to the Daily Journal’s annual list of “Top Women Lawyers” in California. The list, which includes 75 litigators and 25 corporate practitioners, recognizes “excellent lawyering and leadership skills among women attorneys.” Ms. Toro was recognized for her work ...
October 1, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, October 1, 2012 — Covington & Burling is pleased to announce that it has elected 15 new lawyers to its partnership.
This group is comprised of diverse and talented individuals from five offices who have made their mark at the firm through exceptional work and the highest standards of client service.
“We’re delighted to welcome these 15 lawyers to ...
May 2, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2012 — D.C. Super Lawyers selected 64 Covington & Burling lawyers for its 2012 list of top legal talent. Super Lawyers selects no more than five percent of the total lawyers who practice in Washington based on peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Deborah Garza and Robert Long have been named among the “Top 100” for ...
September 27, 2011
NEW YORK, September 27, 2011 — Twenty Covington & Burling LLP lawyers are recognized in the 2011 edition of New York Super Lawyers. The annual list by Super Lawyers selects only five percent of the total lawyers in the state based upon peer review and the publication’s independent research.
Sixteen Covington lawyers were named New York Super Lawyers:
June 22, 2011, Covington E-Alert
May 2, 2011, Covington E-Alert
August 31, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC, August 31, 2010 — The U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont has ruled in favor of HP Hood, the second largest dairy processor in the Northeast, in a class action antitrust lawsuit alleging a restraint of trade in the dairy industry. In a 41-page decision issued August 30, federal district judge Christina Reiss granted HP Hood’s motion ...
May 12, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2010 — For the fourth consecutive year, Covington & Burling LLP partner Sonya Winner has been named to the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal’s list of “Top Women Litigators” in California.
In recognizing Ms. Winner again this year, the editors cite her current representations of Wells Fargo Co. and Bank of America in major ...
December 7, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC, December 7, 2007 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit challenging the absence of warning labels on milk informing consumers of the purported risks of lactose intolerance. Covington & Burling LLP successfully represented the defendants, which included Giant of Maryland, Nestle ...
October 2, 2003
October 2, 2003 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Covington & Burling announced the election of five new partners, effective October 1, 2003. "These fine individuals and lawyers, who very much represent the future of our firm, reflect the firm's strengths and diversity, coming as they do from four of the firm's five offices and ranging across our corporate, life sciences, ...
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