Becky’s practice focuses on the defense of complex and class action litigation in state and federal courts across the United States.
Class Action Defense – Becky has defended numerous high profile class actions for tobacco, pharmaceutical, medical device and alcoholic beverage manufacturers, many of which have included state consumer protection law claims. She has also successfully represented mining companies and energy producers in environmental class action cases involving significant property damage and medical monitoring claims. Becky’s experience includes the defense of a series of tenant class action lawsuits alleging toxic mold exposure stemming from construction defects. Becky regularly defends corporate clients in cases where individual plaintiffs seek potentially unconstitutional statutory and/or punitive damages on behalf of themselves and a class.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Other Privacy-Related Statutory Claims – Becky has extensive experience defending mid-size and global companies in class action and individual lawsuits based on alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Becky closely monitors FCC orders and analyzes the Commission’s interpretations of the TCPA likely to affect her clients’ compliance efforts. Her work occasionally involves engagement on behalf of her clients with the FCC. Becky’s practice has also involved the defense of major retailers in privacy-related class action lawsuits based on the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. She is well versed in Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and other legal protections applicable to Personally Identifiable Information.
Class Arbitration – Becky has also successfully defended class claims in arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act and American Arbitration Association rules, and offers particular knowledge to clients facing class arbitration proceedings. She is also available to counsel companies attempting to craft effective class action waivers for inclusion in arbitration agreements.
Strategic Discovery Practice – Throughout her career, Becky has consistently approached discovery as an element of litigation to be strategically managed in order to minimize operational disruption and cost to her business clients. She understands the value of cooperation during discovery, but will not hesitate to “draw a line” and aggressively litigate discovery issues when necessary. When it comes to e-discovery, Becky recognizes that each client’s circumstance is unique, and tailors her team’s approach accordingly. Becky has successfully prepared and produced countless company witnesses in discovery, including everyone from company presidents to IT professionals to building maintenance staff. She practices a calm, methodical approach to witness preparation that fosters witness confidence and leads to more effective testimony.
Complex Individual Cases – In addition to her class action work, Becky has extensive experience litigating high-stakes, multi-defendant product liability lawsuits brought by individual plaintiffs. She has been involved in such cases from the filing of initial pleadings through trial and has defeated a wide array of claims, including those for negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, design defect, conspiracy, strict liability, unfair trade practices and consumer protection law violations.
Effective Case Management – Becky formulates reliable class action litigation budgets and maintains strong communication with in-house counsel throughout the life of the “bet the company” cases. She takes seriously the task of assembling the most cost-effective and capable case teams possible—teams that can deliver outstanding results during every phase of litigation, including discovery and motion practice. Becky has enjoyed significant success in motion practice, regularly defeating class certification and/or winning summary judgment on key claims.
Publications and Presentations
The Rocky Road for the FCC’s Interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in 2016, Panelist, The Knowledge Group’s Live CLE Webcast (April 5, 2016).
Privacy and Data Security Roundtable, Panelist, Shook, Hardy & Bacon CLE (October 7, 2015).
TCPA, Panelist, Shook, Hardy & Bacon Colorado Litigation Roundtable (June 5, 2015).
Rebecca Schwartz, U.S. Supreme Court Rules that a Statistical Damages Model Not Sufficiently Tied to Class Plaintiffs' Theory of Liability Is Insufficient to Demonstrate Satisfaction of Rule 23's Predominance Requirement, Class Action & Complex Litigation Alert, March 29, 2013.
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.
Alfred J. Saikali & Rebecca Schwartz, Supreme Court Confirms Stringent Article III Standing Requirement for Privacy Cases, Data Security Alert, March 6, 2013.