Class Actions/Mass Actions/MDLs
In fact, our firm is one of the only firms to tackle class action litigation from both the plaintiff and defense side.
We regularly pursue plaintiff-side class action litigation in the areas of employee benefits, securities, environmental, and statutory debt collection claims. Recently, the firm reached a nationwide settlement with Navient Solutions, LLC and Navient Credit Finance Corporation (“Navient”) that will result in approximately $236 million in debt relief for private student loan borrowers, as well as $44 million in cash compensation. As stated in the class action lawsuit, Navient and its agents refused to recognize the discharges of these private student loans that were (a) to attend non-Title IV schools and programs or (b) made in excess of the cost of attendance, and then continued to collect on the loans even after borrowers obtained bankruptcy discharges.
Our attorneys also have vast experience bringing mass action and class action cases against banks, loan servicers, stockbrokers, and investment firms. In February 2023, Fishman Haygood and Stumphauzer Kolaya Nadler & Sloman filed the most comprehensive class action lawsuit to date on behalf of FTX customers. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages in the form of investment losses against the banks, venture capital firms, accounting firms, and law firm that allegedly aided and abetted Sam Bankman-Fried and his company in a scheme to defraud customers out of billions of dollars and crypto assets.
With suits across the country pending against Bankman-Fried and FTX, all cases have since been transferred to an MDL (multidistrict litigation). Fishman Haygood partners Jim Swanson and Kerry Miller were appointed to leadership positions in the FTX MDL (Case No. 1:23-md-03076), with Swanson serving as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and Miller chairing the Insurance Coverage Committee.
On the defense side, we have obtained dismissals of class claims in cases against a regional grocery chain, a publicly traded heavy equipment retailer, a large insurance company, and a regional hospital. Partners Miller and Paul Thibodeaux have defended clients in both the Deepwater Horizon MDL (MDL 10-M-2179) and the In Re Chinese Drywall MDL (MDL 09-MD-2047).
- Represents just under 300 former SOHIO Heritage employees and current pensioners seeking to recover funds promised but never provided after BP America acquired SOHIO and converted the defined benefit plan under which the employees were earning pension benefits at SOHIO to a new cash balance plan; per the Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) fiduciary duty obligations, this mass action suit seeks to recover monetary benefits that BP America represented would be provided under the new cash balance plan, but that were either significantly reduced or never realized after the plan conversion.
- Represented a proposed class of over 17,000 investors against five banks in a lawsuit alleging the banks’ aiding and abetting of the $7 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by R. Allen Stanford.
- Represented an international driller in a four-month trial involving one of our nation’s largest environmental disasters, in which thousands of plaintiffs, federal, state and local governments were seeking damages under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act, with the result that the driller was found not grossly negligent under the Clean Water Act, and that the operator of the well was obligated to indemnify the driller for all Oil Pollution Act Damages in the Deepwater Horizon MDL (MDL 10-M-2179).
- Represented a refinery operator following a release of 25,000 barrels of oil into a residential area. Turner v Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:05-cv-04206-EEF-JCW. Successfully restricted the geographic area of the certified class. Following this, created and developed an aggressive settlement plan which resulted in a global settlement. After settlement, was refinery operator’s lead witness in an arbitration proceeding in London against several excess level insurers. Client was ultimately indemnified for all settlement payments and defense expenses. Also represented operator in this matter in connection with remediation of the contaminated properties. Remediation was supervised by EPA and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
- Represented an international manufacturer of building products in multi-district litigation and in state court product liability cases throughout the Gulf South. Tried several bellwether cases and settled thousands of property damage claims. In Re Chinese Drywall MDL (MDL 09-MD-2047).
- Represented hundreds of business, individuals, and landowners against BP relating to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, both inside and outside of the settlement.
- Defense of multiple banks sued in merger challenges.