Consumer & Class Actions

Successfully defending complex consumer or class action lawsuits requires a legal team capable of devising the most effective strategies, while protecting your bottom line. The best approach to these potentially costly cases is to quickly develop a comprehensive game plan that focuses on our client’s goals. Because judges in consumer and class action suits respond favorably to thoughtful handling of such cases, our early planning often directly leads to favorable outcomes.

Representative Clients:

American Honda Finance Company  •  Electronic Arts Inc.   •   Instacart  •  Lyft, Inc.  •  Intel Corporation  •  Intuitive Surgical, Inc.  •  Lucasfilm Ltd.  •  Major League Baseball

Cases of Note

Cobarruviaz, et al. v. Instacart: We defeated a putative class action filed against a leading on-demand technology company, Instacart, which connects customers with personal shoppers for grocery shopping and home delivery. The class action addressed an issue critical to the new “sharing economy”: whether personal shoppers who use Instacart’s technology platform were properly considered independent contractors rather than employees. The court issued its order dismissing the class action claims on November 3, 2015.

Miranda et al. v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball et al.: We successfully defended Major League Baseball (MLB), its Commissioner and 30 Baseball Clubs from a putative class action. The plaintiffs, former minor league players, alleged that minor league baseball’s labor system violates federal antitrust law. We convinced the court to dismiss the complaint because Baseball’s antitrust exemption bars plaintiffs’ claims.

Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc.: We represent technology company Lyft, which connects individuals in need of a ride to drivers willing to transport them. This putative class action addresses an issue critical to the new economy: whether Lyft drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. In summer 2016, the parties entered into a proposed settlement that does not require the re-classification of Lyft drivers as employees. The court preliminarily approved the settlement in June 2016. The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for December.

Bowe v. Public Storage: We defended the United States’ largest self-storage operator, Public Storage, from a consumer class action lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged our client deceived customers who bought tenant insurance policies. The plaintiff claimed Public Storage sold tenant insurance to him and other storage consumers without properly disclosing that the company retains a “substantial portion” of the premiums. The suit claimed that the insurance program offered by Public Storage was “a hidden profit center for itself that kicks back unconscionable profits at the expense of consumers.” The suit, filed in Miami federal court, sought restitution for all of the insurance premiums paid to Public Storage by its customers over the past four years. Within three months of being retained, and just seven months before trial, we prevailed on a Summary Judgment Motion which dismissed the class’ RICO claim. The matter settled favorably two days before trial.

Plaintiff v. Amyris, Inc.: In this putative securities class action, the plaintiff accused our client, a renewable energy company, of knowingly making false and misleading statements over the production of a chemical used in transportation fuels. After we demonstrated the company was simply mistaken in their projections and its statements provided meaningful cautionary warnings, the judge granted our motion to dismiss.

Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc. et al: We secured a favorable settlement for Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) in this groundbreaking antitrust and right of publicity class action. Current and former student-athletes claimed EA improperly used the athletes’ likenesses and biographical information in its NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games.

Former Employees v. Lucasfilm Ltd.: We advised Lucasfilm Ltd. in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and then represented Lucasfilm in a series of antitrust class actions brought by former employees of Lucasfilm, Google, Apple, Intel and Pixar. Plaintiffs alleged unlawful agreements related to hiring and employee retention. Plaintiffs and Lucasfilm reached a preliminary settlement of plaintiffs’ claims in July 2013.

Plaintiffs v. Automobile Manufacturers: We defended automakers in multi-forum, antitrust litigation involving restrictions on car exports in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Plaintiffs, alleging a broad conspiracy among all major automobile manufacturers and distributors, sought damages of more than $1 billion. We won summary judgment in the lead federal litigation, in several state cases, and in the California state court class action. We also achieved early dismissal of numerous state court actions.

Plaintiff v. Medical Group: We represented a California medical group in class action litigation concerning false advertising, Section 17200 and other consumer protection claims. In conjunction with the counsel defending a related organization, we defeated the class certification, resolved the case before trial, and obtained a favorable settlement for a small fraction of the demand.

Plaintiffs v. Credit Card Processor: We defended a national credit card processor in class action litigation related to alleged Section 17200 and other consumer protection violations. We showed that a forum selection clause in the merchant agreements precluded this type of complaint from being filed in the Northern District of California, thereby securing a dismissal and terminating the litigation.

In re Budeprion Multidistrict Litigation: In a multi-district class action, plaintiffs challenged a drug company's product label under California's unfair competition law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. We settled the case on extremely favorable terms to our client.

Key Contacts

Rachael E. Meny

Rachael E. Meny

(415) 676-2245
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David J. Silbert

David J. Silbert

(415) 676-2261
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