Resolving Class Actions – A Guide for Businesses

A Pragmatic Approach to Resolving Class Actions Cases

At Callahan & Blaine we pride ourselves in taking a pragmatic approach to defending class action matters. Our approach is rooted in a real understanding of what the plaintiffs' law firm actually wants and would accept to settle the matter. This knowledge allows our clients to assess the merits and cost of a case and if the case has sone merit, avoid prolonging the case and paying more as a result.

We believe that we are stewards of our clients' money and it is our responsibility to advise our client when continued litigation of the case will not yield a lower settlement. Non-productive litigation by defense counsel simply drives up the cost of settlement because in wage and hour matters, the defendant, if liable, must pay the counsel that represents the class.

Our ability to understand the milestones of a class action is based on the fact that we have actually represented Plaintiffs in wage and hour class actions. This has given us a unique perspective on how the traditional "big firm solution," to grind down the other side, is of little or no value.

Formerly, when we represented plaintiffs in wage and hour matters, we were baffled at the big firm approach of filing baseless motions or asserting objections to discovery that had little or no value nor chance of succeeding. We believe that the corporate client deserves to be informed of the business reality of the case. For example, the client is required to pay its law firm, win or lose. If the class action is certified and has merit, the client must also pay the plaintiffs' class action attorney fees and costs.

We are often sought out by corporations that are already veterans of the wage and hour class action wars. They usually begin by stating:

I only wish I had understood from the beginning what the key milestones are in the litigation of a class action. I feel like the firm which represented us in the past basically spent a million dollars and then said it is " now time to settle." We eventually resolved the matter in mediation for $1.7 million, however, it later became clear that the plaintiffs' counsel would have taken the same deal before we spent our first $250,000 in litigations costs. The defense tactic that our counsel chose delayed resolution and drove up the plaintiffs' attorney fees which ultimately we had to pay for under the employment laws."

Big firms try to create the impression that class actions are complicated and require significant lawyer time to narrow the issues. Callahan & Blaine believes that it is our responsibility to demystify a class action lawsuit so that the client can understand why we suggest certain actions early in the case.

We believe that the client must understand what is a productive use of legal time and resources . We believe that our success in jury trials is directly related to our ability to take complex subjects and distill them to a sample theme that any jury member can understand.

We believe clients ought to be given an opportunity to decide how to allocate tasks to save on legal fees. Our approach is to reduce litigation costs by not using lawyers and paralegals for clerical tasks. Unlike other firms we do not need to find work for junior associates who have no experience. Callahan & Blaine only hires attorneys that already have a minimum of 6 years of proven successful litigation experience.

We begin by conducting an extensive factual analysis to determine the client's vulnerability to the plaintiffs' claim. Evidence will determine if we are likely to win or lose and whether we should seek settlement and at what cost. Instead of spending $1 million on attorneys fees before discussing settlement, why not use that money to resolve the matter. Successfully managing a class action is a business decision that should be handled like all others, based on an informed cost benefit analysis.

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