Class Actions

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys have extensive experience defending clients in high-stakes class action lawsuits in virtually every area of the law in jurisdictions throughout the country.

Whether defending the world's largest semiconductor chip maker against allegations of anti-competitive recruiting practices or a major consumer goods manufacturer in a billion-dollar false advertising case, Munger Tolles represents clients in a wide variety of class actions. Our lawyers represent companies in industries such as technology, pharmaceuticals and financial services, considering each marketplace’s unique dynamics and bringing novel thinking to every case.

Recognized as a Law360 Class Action Group of the Year for legal victories on behalf of Bank of America, Philip Morris USA and Transocean, Munger Tolles attorneys are skilled at untangling the complex intricacies of each case and developing creative strategies to bring current or potential class actions to a swift and favorable resolution. 

The firm is known for delivering innovative legal strategies and extraordinary results in class action litigation. Munger Tolles attorneys routinely obtain dismissals of class actions at the pleading stage or denials of class certification, and if a matter should proceed to trial, we are equally adept at defending and trying certified class actions – often being substituted in as trial counsel following certification.

Our class action matters include representing:

Privacy

  • Facebook in successful appeals before:
    • the Ninth Circuit related to its use of minors’ names and likenesses in its “social ads” program.
    • the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court challenging the use of cy pres in privacy class action settlements.
  • HTC in:
    • multi-district litigation challenging the installation and use of data collection software on mobile devices as violating the Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, and federal and state consumer protection laws; and
    • putative class actions involving the Google Phone and EVO 4G smartphones, asserting unfair competition, false advertising and warranty claims.
  • LinkedIn in securing a dismissal of most claims in a consumer class action asserting that a feature allowing members to import external email contacts and send emails inviting those contacts to join their networks on LinkedIn violates the federal Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, California’s common law and statutory right of publicity and Unfair Competition Law.
  • The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiary ESPN in putative class actions alleging that the Disney Channel and WatchESPN applications downloaded onto Roku digital media-streaming devices violate the Video Privacy Protection Act by disclosing information about videos watched to a third-party analytics provider.

Consumer

  • Intel in obtaining a settlement in a certified class action brought on behalf of several million purchasers of computers containing the first version of the Pentium 4 processor alleging violations of the Unfair Competition Law.
  • Philip Morris USA in winning a trial victory in a massive class action spanning more than 16 years involving the marketing of Marlboro Lights cigarettes. The case was named by the Daily Journal as a “Top Defense Verdict.”
  • Verizon in a class action alleging that Verizon billed customers for unauthorized third-party charges in violation of RICO and other state and federal laws; the case settled and court approval is pending.
  • Wells Fargo in obtaining a settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging $575 million in damages brought by a class of institutional investors who alleged that the bank breached the terms of its securities lending program contracts and breached its fiduciary duties to its customers by placing them in inappropriately risky investments.

Antitrust

  • Intel in obtaining a settlement in an antitrust case brought by a purported class of current and former employees of Intel and other technology companies alleging that the defendants collaborated to abstain from actively soliciting each other’s employees.
  • LG Display in a class action brought on behalf of indirect purchasers stemming from allegations of price-fixing among manufacturers of display panels and by several direct action plaintiffs.
  • NCAA in what was called “the sports trial of the century,” a nationwide class action brought by current and former Division I college football and men’s basketball players asserting antitrust and intellectual property claims relating to NCAA rules that allegedly preclude student-athletes from being paid for the alleged use of their name, image and likeness.
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals and its former subsidiary Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. in obtaining one of the first denials of certification of a large proposed class in pharmaceutical antitrust litigation when certification was denied to two proposed classes of indirect purchasers alleging the companies’ conduct in licensing and enforcing patents delayed entry into the market of a generic version of the muscle relaxant Skelaxin.

Securities

  • Bank of America in securing a dismissal in federal court, affirmed by the Second Circuit, of a shareholder class action involving the bank’s knowledge of potential litigation by American International Group (AIG).
  • Berkshire Hathaway in defeating shareholder lawsuits challenging its acquisitions of:
    • H.J. Heinz Company;
    • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation; and
    • Wesco Financial Corporation.
  • Corinthian Colleges in securing a dismissal with prejudice of a putative federal securities fraud class action alleging that Corinthian misrepresented its student enrollment and graduate placements.
  • Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in settling a stockholder class action alleging that the issuance of non-voting stock would unfairly extend the founders’ voting control.
  • Hewlett-Packard in obtaining denial of class certification in a shareholder dispute alleging securities claims, tort claims and contract claims arising from HP’s transfer of stock and dividends to the State of California. 
  • MGM Resorts (f/k/a MGM MIRAGE) in a federal securities class action relating to the construction and financing of the CityCenter development in Las Vegas, and in related stockholder derivative suits in state and federal courts.
  • Transocean in obtaining dismissals of a securities class action in New York federal court and shareholder derivative litigation in Texas state court stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill involving Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Labor & Employment

  • Guardsmark in securing a summary judgment victory, affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, staving off a statewide putative class action alleging failure to provide meal periods, as well as a denial by the court of class certification in a putative class action seeking to assert wage and hour violations.
  • Merrill Lynch in its settlement of a nationwide class action covering more than 21,000 financial advisors, which, in conjunction with a prior California class action settlement, set the standard for such agreements throughout the industry.
  • NBCUniversal in a settlement in two putative class actions alleging age discrimination against television writers by all the major TV networks, studios and talent agencies.
  • Service Employees International (SEII) and other affiliated government contractors in winning a class action arbitration concerning allegations that 7,000 truck drivers were subjected to a de facto policy requiring them to under-record time worked in support of the military effort in Iraq. 
  • Southern California Edison Company in obtaining dismissal of a putative class action alleging a pattern and practice of racial discrimination.

Media & Entertainment

  • NBCUniversal in a putative class action case, coordinated with similar complaints against other studios, by profit participants in motion picture productions who allege the studios improperly calculated their contingent consideration on amounts generated through the distribution of motion pictures via home video.
  • Warner/Chappell Music in a class action challenging the validity of Warner/Chappell’s copyright over the musical composition “Happy Birthday To You.”
  • Warner Music Group in obtaining an $11.5 million settlement in a class action involving royalties related to digital downloads brought by Kathy Sledge, Gary Wright and Ronee Blakley on behalf of all Warner artists.

Contact:
Bethany Kristovich (213) 683-9292
Rosemarie T. Ring (415) 512-4008
Gregory P. Stone (213) 683-9255
Henry Weissmann (213) 683-9150