Whether in state or federal courts, a successful class action defense requires both a keen understanding of rules of practice and procedure that pertain to this specialized area of litigation and an expertise in the areas in which certification is sought. Our class action lawyers have experience across multiple industries, states, and practice areas, and we are ready to mobilize teams to understand and press for our clients’ business objectives. As experienced class action litigators, we also understand the intricacies involved in class action defense, and in particular the unique certification process. We tackle obstacles efficiently, recognizing the financial toll class action litigation can cause to our clients, and we develop strategies early-on, that are tailored to our clients’ needs.
In all of our areas of practice, clients know that we will take the time to understand their needs and consider their business concerns. We understand business realities and give clients honest, clear guidance on pending litigation. The result is the kind of strong working relationships that have kept many clients with us for decades, as they grow and their needs become more complex.
Recent Doerner Experience
- Successfully defended a class action claim asserting improper billings for a nationally recognized hospital in Tulsa.
- Represented area natural gas company against an attempt to certify class related to maintenance of a gas pipeline from an easement to the output side of the pipeline
- Represented an Oklahoma agency in a class action initiated by a charitable organization regarding the treatment of children in foster care. The case was litigated intensely by all interested parties and resulted in a settlement believed to be in the best interests of the several thousand children affected thereby.
- Managed toxic tort class actions as well as premises liability, employment and commercial litigation for petroleum refining, marketing and transportation company.
Top Areas of Focus
- Ongoing representation and defense of various businesses and organizations in the complex disciplines of appellate and class action litigation
- Appellate practice before the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, as well as the federal circuit courts and US Supreme Court.
- Resolution of construction claims and liens through mediation, arbitration and litigation.
- Defense of employers in such matters as wage-and-hour conflicts, retaliation claims, disability accommodations and OSHA citations.
- Securing and defending groundwater rights, including water allocation and replacement.
Case Study: Securing Dismissal of a Class Action
- Opportunity: Our client, one of the world’s largest logistics companies, was sued in Oklahoma federal district court by a plaintiff that claimed, on its own behalf and on behalf of shippers nationwide, that our client tied its sales of transportation services on parcels valued at less than $100 to the sale of insurance for those parcels.
- Solution: We contended that its promise to reimburse the value of lost packages under $100 was not insurance, but was limitation of liability under the Carmack Amendment, the federal statute controlling and limiting the liability of contract carriers. We also demonstrated that the client’s agreement to pay for loss and its agreement to ship were not separate products and could not be subject to tying arrangements.
- Result: The court accepted our arguments in full and dismissed the case against our client.
Case Study: Presenting a Groundbreaking Argument in Liability Defense
- Opportunity: We represented a major Oklahoma public utility in defense against claims that an employee of a contractor who had worked in one of the company’s power plants contracted mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure decades before, in the early 1950s.
- Solution: Doerner formulated a defense based on the argument that the claim was invalid due to Oklahoma’s statute of repose involving claims arising from construction of improvements to real property, which bars claims arising more than ten years after the completion of the improvement.
- Result: Our defense was accepted at all levels, including summary judgment by the District Court of Oklahoma County and affirmation by the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals and the Supreme Court of Oklahoma. This was the first appellate decision in Oklahoma to uphold the statute of repose in favor of a premises defendant in an asbestos-related case.
In today’s adversarial society, lawsuits are inevitable for businesses of any size. Our strategy with class actions is principally focused on defeating certification. As a result, our attorneys have assisted many clients in obtaining rulings that deny class certification in cases that would have otherwise had a significant negative effect on our client’s success.
As a litigant, businesses want a litigation firm that deeply understands their interests and knows how to align themselves to achieve their business goals. Our class action lawyers provide our clients the counsel they need while respecting their time, intelligence and money. Although we are experienced trial lawyers, we believe the true standard of an effective class action is total commitment to finding the best, most effective and most efficient resolution to a class action the client may face.