Class Actions and Mass Torts

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Overview

Class actions come in many varieties involving consumer and commercial disputes of all sorts. We have experience with state-wide and nation-wide claims, including direct and indirect purchaser antitrust actions, natural resources royalty disputes, and numerous product, insurance, securities and consumer claims, as well as civil rights actions.

Attorneys

Experience

  • Shareholders' derivative securities litigation. Our lawyers represented a local development company in four shareholders suits brought by a number of different groups of plaintiffs' lawyers challenging the company's $254 million merger with a California development company.

  • New Mexico Service Contract Regulation Act. Dismissal of class action claims against car dealership.

  • "Modal" insurance premium and installment fee litigation. Modrall Sperling acts or has acted as counsel for insurers in numerous separate class actions, all pled as nationwide class actions. The cases related to insurers' practices of offering insureds the option of paying their insurance premiums more frequently than annually at an increased cost. The plaintiffs claimed that the insurance companies should disclose "annual percentage rates" and "finance charges" in connection with the policies, even though the insureds may discontinue making payments without an obligation to pay for the remainder of the year in question. Our lawyers acted both as primary and local counsel in these cases.

  • Indirect purchaser antitrust litigation. Under the federal antitrust laws, claims alleging price-fixing may be asserted only by persons or entities that purchase directly from the alleged infringer. This doctrine was articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Illinois Brick v. Illinois, 431 U.S. 720 (1977). In response, a number of states, including New Mexico, have adopted so-called "Illinois Brick Repealer Statutes." These statutes provide standing to indirect purchasers to make the same sorts of claims that might be made by direct purchasers. Litigation utilizing New Mexico's Illinois Brick Repealer Statute has blossomed since the late 1990s, when the firm acted as counsel in its first of such claims.

  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act litigation. The firm has handled consumer class cases alleging unfair debt collection practices in New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Washington.

  • Consumer Product.  Prescription drug and medical device class actions and individual litigation. The firm has represented manufacturers of spinal implant systems (rods and pedicle screws), latex gloves, diet drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and gastro-esophogeal reflux medications in individual and class action cases in New Mexico state and federal courts, as well as in federal multidistrict litigation. These cases typically involve claims under New Mexico common law for products liability including, more recently, claims for medical monitoring to watch for future symptoms (the latter are typically pled as class actions).

  • The firm also represented the manufacturer of a radiant floor heating product in a state class action which was the first case in New Mexico history in which the Court of Appeals accepted the appeal of a certification order under a recently adopted rule of civil procedure. 

  • Royalty litigation. The firm has defended and is defending natural gas producers against claims of underpayment of royalty. We recently tried in the State Court in Durango, Colorado, as lead counsel, a class action royalty case involving over 3,000 class members. We defeated class certification and obtained summary judgment for our client in a recent royalty case in State Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and defended a class action in federal court involving a class of several thousand royalty payees, which was settled.

  • Civil Rights Litigation. We defeated class certification in a putative class action case against the operators of Coronado Center, a large regional shopping center in Albuquerque, brought by individuals alleging civil rights violations. We also represent local school districts on proposed civil rights class action cases brought by students.

  • The firm has successfully represented pharmaceutical companies in actions brought by the New Mexico Attorney General's office for alleged violations of the UPA and FATA. These actions are very similar to class actions in that the AG files actions on behalf of New Mexico consumers/purchasers.