Melissa’s practice focuses on complex individual and class action litigation. She represents defendants in products liability cases involving tobacco, firearms, household appliances and building materials. Melissa also defends claims arising under state and federal consumer protection statutes, such as the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which have involved advertising, debt collection and sales practices. Melissa has experience in all stages of litigation, from analysis of the initial complaint and dispositive motion practice to discovery issues and trial preparation, as well as strategy for opposing class certification. Melissa is a contributing author for the Missouri and Kansas Class Action Law blog dedicated to discussing developments in class actions and complex litigation, with particular emphasis on Missouri and Kansas.
Before joining Shook, Melissa clerked for The Hon. Julie A. Robinson in the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas. Melissa graduated first in her class from University of Kansas School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Kansas Law Review, was a member of the Moot Court Council and represented KU at the 2011 National First Amendment Moot Court Competition.
Before attending law school, Melissa graduated with a degree in secondary education from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, and she taught high school mathematics in Jefferson City and the Saint Louis area.
MMPA: Bray v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2014 WL 2893202 (W.D. Mo. 2014). Melissa defended a publisher and online retailer against a putative class action alleging unfair sales practices in the sale of foreign-language lessons. Within four months of plaintiff’s initial complaint, the individual class representative’s claims were dismissed with prejudice and no class was certified.
Tobacco: Melissa has successfully represented tobacco companies in smoking-and-health cases. She has served on trial teams securing complete defense verdicts in E. Davis (USDC MD Florida 2014) and E. Smith (Palm Beach County, FL 2016). Melissa has also served on a number of case teams securing dismissals before the cases proceeded to trial, including in Bougopoulos (USDC New Hampshire 2014).
TCPA: Melissa has successfully petitioned the FCC for waiver of the opt-out notice requirement on solicited faxes for clients facing TCPA class actions alleging a failure to include the opt-out notice on their faxes.
Publications and Presentations
Melissa Plunkett and Eileen Moss, Spokeo: Defendants’ Potential Capitalization of the Concrete Injury Requirement, DRI’s The Voice, August 31, 2016.
Melissa Plunkett, Laura Phillips (Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP), Justin O. Kay (Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP), and Philip Hoffman (Pepper Hamilton LLP), Emerging Issues in FCC: Legal Issues in TCPA Declaratory Rulings on Faxes, The Knowledge Group (June 17, 2016).
Melissa Plunkett, Standing On Solid Ground: Supreme Court Requires Concrete Harm For Statutory Violations, Missouri and Kansas Class Action Law Blog, May 19, 2016.
Melissa Plunkett, Papers Saving Papers: Class Action Fails For Lack Of Standard-Form Service Agreement, Missouri and Kansas Class Action Law Blog, August 4, 2015.
Melissa Plunkett, It’s Congress’s Prerogative: Citizenship Of LLCs Under CAFA, Missouri and Kansas Class Action Law Blog, April 3, 2015.
William A. Yoder, Amy M. Crouch & Melissa M. Plunkett, The Starting Point for Effective Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions, For the Defense, July 2014, at 48.
Rebecca Schwartz & Melissa Plunkett, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Precertification Stipulation to Seek Less Than $5 Million as Invalid Attempt by Class Plaintiff to Avoid Federal Jurisdiction under Class Action Fairness Act, Class Action & Complex Litigation Alert, March 20, 2013.
Melissa Plunkett, The Town That Built Me, The Journal of the Kansas Bar Association, November/December 2011.
Co-author, Kansas Law Review Criminal Procedure Survey, 58 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1311 (2010).