The preamble to the Class Action Fairness Act states that abusive class actions have harmed class members with legitimate claims and defendants who have acted responsibly; adversely affected interstate commerce; and undermined public respect for the country's judicial system. Despite those criticisms, the number of class action claims filed and the nature and scope of actionable conduct has steadily grown. Penalties are severe and no one is safe. We live in a world of hyper-technical statutory schemes that can easily bankrupt an otherwise healthy corporation. Financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, not-for-profits, debt collectors, individuals and businesses from every walk of life, including their owners, officers and directors, face a multifaceted threat in the class action arena.
The risks attendant to class action litigation are exceedingly high and the potential fall-out from an adverse award is particularly severe. We have successfully defended businesses and individuals against this onslaught of complex litigation for alleged violations of the Illinois False Claims Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, to name a few. In addition to defending class action claims, we are frequently called upon to identify risk avoidance measures aimed at reducing (or eliminating altogether) the massive exposures faced by individuals and businesses operating in today’s consumer marketplace.
They make our cars go. They flavor our popcorn. And they clean our homes. But when they are used improperly or when they are not adequately contained, manufacturers, distributors, employers, property owners and operators far too often find themselves defending a tort or claim brought under one of the many state and/or federal environmental statutes.
Whether it’s contamination from a leaking underground petroleum storage tank, a hairdresser’s long-term exposure to vinyl chloride-containing hairspray in the workplace or a brake manufacturer’s use of asbestos, we understand the science, but are careful never to leave common sense at the door. We have successfully defended some of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world, international hotel and retail chains, truck stops, gas stations and regional distributors and suppliers in the Environmental & Mass Tort arena.