Class and Collective Actions

Recent landmark decisions suggest that class action litigation is unlikely to decrease in the years ahead. While reform initiatives and Supreme Court protections have improved the climate for companies operating in the United States, overall lawsuit filings for workplace issues or employment matters continue to rise, particularly claims involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Our labor and employment attorneys have years of experience defending class actions, collective actions and multiple-plaintiff litigation, including claims related to “pattern-and-practice” employment discrimination and federal wage and hour violations. We routinely defeat motions for class certification, obtain judgments against named plaintiffs (effectively defeating the broader class), and obtain dismissals of class and collective actions. We also have significant experience negotiating complex settlement agreements and consent decrees.

We have consistently received national recognition for our successful management and defense of class and collective actions for Fortune 500 clients. We have particular depth of experience representing clients in the energy, technology, telecommunications, restaurant and hospitality industries.

As a practice and as a firm, we have the resources to efficiently and effectively manage the discovery and data management challenges presented by class or collective actions. Our litigators work closely with the firm’s affiliate, eMerge, to handle data and document-intensive discovery. eMerge brings talented discovery attorneys together with skilled technologists to leverage appropriate technology in litigation matters. eMerge and Troutman Sanders adapt quickly to the technology needs of clients, and jointly offer a wide range of industry-leading technology solutions superior to those commonly available in a law firm or a technology vendor operating alone. With these resources, we have designed and implemented electronic discovery plans in class actions involving thousands of class members, often at a significant cost savings to clients.

  • We defeated a motion for class certification in a race-discrimination case that sought to establish a class of approximately 2,400 employees of our Fortune 500 client. Our attorneys obtained summary judgment on all remaining individual plaintiffs’ claims and successfully represented the client throughout the appellate process, which ultimately ended before the United States Supreme Court.
  • We represented one of the world’s largest utility companies in an FLSA collective action brought by 168 current and former employees who claimed the on-call time for thousands of employees was compensable under the act. As a result of our aggressive discovery efforts, including a motion to dismiss several plaintiffs for their failure to engage in discovery and motions to compel discovery that were all granted and resulted in an award of attorneys' fees against the plaintiffs, all remaining plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.
  • We defended an international staffing company in an overtime class action brought under the California overtime statute on behalf of 1,000 employees. After limited discovery, we negotiated a settlement in which our client did not make any payments to class members (the co-defendant made nominal settlement payments).
  • We defended cable installation services company in an FLSA collective action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee involving piece-rate compensation of approximately 1,000 cable installers. Prior to class certification, the plaintiffs initially moved for partial summary judgment on the issues of liability and liquidated damages. However, the plaintiffs withdrew their motion as a result of various defenses we asserted on behalf of our client, including that the client was not the plaintiffs' statutory employer and that the plaintiffs were exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA under the Retail & Service Establishment exemption and/or the Motor Carrier Act exemption. A mediated settlement was reached shortly thereafter.
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