Class Action Defense Litigation
As successive waves of class action litigation have come crashing down on one industry after another, Goldberg Kohn's national practice has evolved from primarily "firefighting" to include planning, prevention and industry education. From the firm's industry-wide representation of debt collection firms in the mid-90s to the precedent-establishing representation of lenders and consumer products companies in recent years, Goldberg Kohn has emerged as a nationally known team of forward-thinking, aggressive opponents of the increasingly creative and far-reaching plaintiffs' bar.
Through the participation in nearly 100 cases, including securities and employment class actions, and the firm's leadership in the ABA Class Action Committee and chairing of National Institutes, Goldberg Kohn has made numerous contributions to the development of the defense jurisprudence in this field, in precedent-setting decisions, in raising awareness of emerging threats, and in proposing both preemptive risk-redemption strategies and aggressive theories of defense.
The firm defends banks, credit card and finance companies, debt collectors, attorneys, and consumer product companies in courts around the country against class actions brought under both state and federal law. Goldberg Kohn has defended class claims brought under state consumer protection and unfair trade practices statutes in more than a dozen jurisdictions, as well as class claims brought under RICO, the FDCPA, RESPA and the Credit Repair Organizations Act, to name a few. In addition, the firm has represented some of the country's leading lenders, servicers and other participants in the residential mortgage industry in courts in Illinois, Alabama, Washington and Montana in class claims alleging deceptive practices and other wrongs arising out of the origination and servicing of residential mortgages.
These cases sometimes generate regulatory inquiries as well as court proceedings, and Goldberg Kohn attorneys appear both in court and before regulatory boards representing a client's interests. Regulatory agencies with which the firm has experience include the Federal Trade Commission, the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.
- In defending a client in a class action, the firm learned, through discovery and independent investigation, that the plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel had filed at least seven similar class actions in the past year, drawing into question the plaintiff's fitness as a class representative. The plaintiff offered to forfeit the class members' claims in exchange for a settlement with the named plaintiff only. Instead, Goldberg Kohn insisted on a voluntary dismissal and filed a motion for fees and costs against the plaintiff and counsel. The six other class actions, defended by other law firms, proceeded.
- Represented a public company sued under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, a federal statute without a statutory cap on damages. As the result of aggressive and novel positions taken on a Motion to Dismiss and in Goldberg Kohn's Opposition to Class Certification, the firm was able to impose a favorable limit on the client's exposure in the event of liability.
- Defended a large privately held Ohio-based company in a multi-district class action brought under state UTPAs and the FDCPA. Through the use of MDL procedures, Goldberg Kohn consolidated cases from four jurisdictions before a single court and achieved a favorable settlement for the client.
- Represented one of the nation's largest lenders in class actions by mortgagors alleging violations of Illinois' consumer protection statutes resulting from allegedly excessive interest and other charges.
- Successful in having all claims dismissed against a client in a class action in Washington state alleging that fees assessed against mortgagors in a bankruptcy were in violation of state law and the bankruptcy code.
- Represented the country's largest network of mortgage foreclosure attorneys in class actions alleging improper and deceptive charges assessed in connection with foreclosure proceedings. In an action in Alabama, Goldberg Kohn successfully opposed the plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification, leading to a favorable settlement for the client.
- Represented numerous retailers, financial institutions, large collection agencies and purchasers of debt in courts around the country where the firm has successfully opposed class certification, effectively ending the litigation.