In addition to our experience in bank/financial services and insurance class actions, Sidley has extensive experience defending many other types of consumer class actions. The firm litigates claims arising under state consumer fraud acts and state unfair and deceptive practice statutes. By way of example, we have significant experience in defending claims brought under state unfair and deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) statutes, including California Business and Professions Code Section 17200.
Section 17200, which is California’s own unique version of a consumer fraud statute, provides for broad consumer protection with only limited procedural requirements for the maintenance of a claim. We have defended actions brought by state Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer protection agencies, as well as private plaintiffs. Utilizing our consumer fraud defense experience, we have defended class actions involving a wide array of consumer products and services other than financial services, including class actions arising out of telecommunications services, the marketing of books and videotapes, faxed advertisements, internet services, hotel fees and charges and herbal remedies.
Section 17200 Actions
We have extensive experience defending Section 17200 class action lawsuits in a broad range of disputes involving consumer products, international money transfers, credit card processing services, automobile leasing and mortgage lending. We have successfully resisted class certification in Section 17200 lawsuits through aggressive discovery practice, negotiation and innovative legal arguments. We have defended such class actions in both federal and state courts across the country, at trial and before numerous appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Our 17200 experience includes successfully handling statewide, nationwide and international class action matters in some of the largest class actions ever filed in the United States courts, involving tens of millions of putative class members and billions of dollars in alleged damages.
A representative sample of our recent 17200 experience includes the following:
- Representation of First Data Corporation and its subsidiaries, Western Union Financial Services, Inc., Integrated Payment Systems, Inc. and Orlandi Valuta in a series of nine overlapping statewide, national and international consumer class actions in various state and federal courts across the country, seeking more than $3 billion in damages in the aggregate, in which plaintiffs alleged that the foreign exchange practices of defendants violated, inter alia, the federal RICO statute, Section 17200 and the unfair trade practices statutes of other states.
- Representation of AT&T in its successful defense of numerous class actions throughout the country brought on behalf of putative classes of tens of millions of consumers, asserting claims for potentially billions of dollars based on Section 17200 and other unfair trade practices statutes of other states arising from such diverse practices as rounding up fractions of minutes in billing, directory assistance prompts and modem diversion of internet traffic to remote countries.
- Representation of and service as national coordinating counsel to AstraZeneca in eight related national class actions brought by consumers and third-party payors involving the marketing of its leading prescription drug, Nexium, challenging the promotion of the drug to physicians and consumers under various state consumer protection laws, including Section 17200.
- Representation of Cardservice International, Inc., a large non-bank provider of credit card processing services, in a number of nationwide class actions filed in California and in other venues across the country, in which plaintiffs alleged that Cardservice imposed unauthorized or undisclosed charges for card processing, for equipment and software leasing and/or for early termination of accounts, and they have sought to recover on a variety of claims, including Section 17200.
- Representation of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in five nationwide class action lawsuits challenging, under Section 17200 and other claims, the propriety of resort, energy and other charges imposed on hotel guests.
- Representation of Pfizer, Inc. in a series of cases in California brought under Section 17200 (and similar actions in other states), involving three of its drugs, asserting a variety of claims about the manner in which drugs are marketed, including alleged non-disclosures and deceptive practices.
- Representation of Wells Fargo Bank in a statewide merchant class action in which plaintiffs asserted claims under, inter alia, Section 17200 that the Bank imposed improper, unauthorized and improperly disclosed charges for credit card processing services.
- Representation of a bank in a number of cases filed against the bank and Dell, Inc., regarding the financing program offered to purchasers of computer equipment, asserting claims under Section 17200 and the consumer fraud statutes of other states, as well as Truth-in-Lending, retail installment sales act and other claims.
- Representation of six manufacturers of herbal products in three consolidated class and representative actions alleging claims under Section 17200 and other unfair trade practice statutes for false advertising and failure to warn.
- Representation of two national retailers in putative class actions challenging the retailers’ practices with respect to the redemption and replacement of gift cards.