commercial litigation

Class Action

Conrad O’Brien defends class actions in a wide range of contexts, including securities, insurance, antitrust, consumer protection, property loss, and product liability claims. Our attorneys combine substantive expertise with a deep understanding of the unique problems raised by class action cases. We work with our clients to develop focused case plans, seek early resolution where possible, make every effort to defeat class certification, and assemble efficient trial teams that present complex issues simply and persuasively.

Notable Cases

  • Defended a publicly traded insurance company together with its officers and directors, in multiple shareholder class actions, filed in state and federal courts seeking to enjoin the company’s acquisition in a merger valued in excess of $220 million. Our team’s instrumental contributions to the defense team helped bring about a highly favorable global settlement that permitted the merger to close on schedule and without modification of the challenged terms.

  • Represented Progressive Insurance Company in a long-pending class action case in which a class of medical providers contended that Progressive must pay automobile accident personal injury claims within 30 days of receipt of completed standard claim forms or pay statutory interest on unpaid claims, even when Progressive had not yet completed its claims investigation. In 2003 the trial court accepted the plaintiffs’ position and certified the class. Conrad O’Brien took over the case after the trial court had certified the class, and in January 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed and decertified the class, effectively ending years of litigation in the insurer’s favor.

  • Obtained summary judgment for our client, Pennsylvania American Water Company, in a class action alleging $100 million of property loss from an industrial fire. The class asserted a unique claim that the water distribution system was improperly designed, causing a lack of water flow and pressure to extinguish the fire.

  • Achieved a series of wins for insurance company clients in three nationwide putative consumer class action lawsuits brought in New Mexico state court alleging breach of contract and failure to disclose premium charges. One suit was dismissed for forum non conveniens, the second suit was withdrawn in the face of threatened discovery into the putative class plaintiffs’ finances, and the third was settled for minimal attorney’s fees and a nominal settlement value based on a New Mexico–only class.