Class Action

A century of representing parties in thousands of cases, including hundreds of trials and appeals, many in the class action arena, makes Pullman & Comley the firm to choose when a class action suit is filed. Our experience in class actions is deep and broad, covering product liability, RICO, ERISA, antitrust, consumer protection, insurance and securities.  And it doesn’t stop at the courthouse steps.  We are trial lawyers.  We know how to litigate class actions, what arguments to advance to secure class certification, and what defenses will work to avoid it.  If the circumstances call for it, we also know how to present the case at trial.

Our experience extends to actions brought by regulatory bodies, appearing in their parens patriae capacity on behalf of unspecified classes.  We have also successfully defended cases in which mass parties are joined to avoid class action scrutiny. 

A few examples of our class action experience are listed below.

Representative Experience

  • In a putative national class action in the Western District of Missouri, the plaintiff contended that a leading insurer’s failure to pay interest on certain disability benefits violated Tennessee law. One of our attorneys successfully moved for summary judgment. He then won affirmance of the district court’s order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • We represented three out of thirty bank defendants in a group of antitrust class actions that were brought on behalf of seven million merchants—actions that were ultimately resolved in a $7 billion settlement. The plaintiffs claimed that Visa and MasterCard colluded with the banks to eliminate competition and increase interchange fees. Pullman obtained dismissal of the claims against two of the banks it represented, and, after extensive discovery, it negotiated a favorable settlement on behalf of the third.
  • Pullman has served as trial counsel for one of the country’s largest life insurance companies in two class action ERISA cases challenging the company’s stable value products. One case was dismissed, and class certification was denied in the second. Pullman currently represents the same company in a third RICO case, pending in the Northern District of Illinois, challenging another of the company’s retirement products.
  • Pullman defended one of the world’s largest industrial corporations in toxic tort mass actions in Texas, Arkansas, Washington, Louisiana, Vermont and Connecticut, as well as in a class action in the Circuit Court for Madison County, Illinois. All of these suits were settled on favorable terms.
  • Pullman represented a leading commercial bank in a putative class action based on overdraft fees, in which the plaintiff sought damages in excess of $20 million. The Firm successfully moved to dismiss the complaint, on the ground that the claims were pre-empted by the federal regulatory scheme under which the bank operates. The case was then settled for a small fraction of the plaintiff’s original demand. When another plaintiff recently filed a related case under a different theory of liability, the bank hired Pullman to defend it again.
  • One of our attorneys represented an insurer that intervened as plaintiff in a class action of 600 insurers, based on a competitor’s misconduct related to the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Pool. Our attorney helped negotiate a $450 million deal, win approval of the settlement over the objection of the original plaintiffs, and brief the case in the Seventh Circuit. The original plaintiffs withdrew their objections after the briefing was completed.