Manufacturers, distributors and retailers have long known Shook, Hardy & Bacon as “the law firm of choice for many companies plagued by high-stakes and often controversial product-liability woes” (BusinessWeek). Our lawyers have developed an array of successful defenses to litigation involving consumer goods and services—whether brought individually or collectively. In addition to defending such litigation, Shook has extensive experience reducing litigation risks by representing our clients before federal and state agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Food and Drug Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We counsel clients with respect to the tort implications of various regulatory actions and participate in agency rulemakings on their behalf.
Belle v. Sunbeam Products, Inc., No. 08-30257-CIV, (S. D. Florida 2008): Shook defended a class action involving Sunbeam heating blankets and alleging deceptive trade practice and warranty claims. The class was not certified and the claims of the individual representatives were remanded to state court for resolution. Those claims were subsequently dismissed by the state court on forum non grounds and never re-filed.
Bray v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2014 WL 2893202 (W.D. Mo. 2014): Shook served as lead counsel defending 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.
Honey Class Actions - Levy et al v. Golden Heritage Foods, LLC, No. 1:12-cv-21607 (S.D. Fla. 2012); Perez v. Golden Heritage Foods, LLC, No. 2012-15324-CA-01 (Fla. 11th Jud. Cir.); Martinez v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., No. 2012-10151-CA-15 (Fla. 11th Jud. Cir.): Shook defended multiple consumer class actions in which plaintiffs claim grocery retailers violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by failing to disclose whether any pollen was removed from honey products during ordinary processing.
Marino v. Home Depot U.S.A., 245 F.R.D. 729 (S.D. Fla. 2007): Shook defeated class certification in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in which plaintiff brought claims under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act, alleging that Home Depot was misleading customers about fees associated with renting equipment.
MDL 1840 – In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, 2012 WL 4794355 (D. Kan. Oct. 3, 2012): Serving as national counsel for 12 fuel refiners and retailers in 33 class actions, Shook convinced a jury to return a unanimous defense verdict in the first 23(c)(4) issue class action ever tried. Plaintiffs asserted consumer fraud claims alleging that defendants advertised and sold fuel at a specified price per gallon without disclosing or accounting for temperature variances.
Rogers v. QuikTrip Corp., 230 P.3d 853 (Okla. 2010): Shook represented QuikTrip in a statewide putative class action in which plaintiffs claimed gas retailers defrauded the public by selling ethanol-blended fuel without disclosing the ethanol content. The trial court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss, but Shook obtained certification for immediate interlocutory review of the trial judge’s order. Our attorneys then convinced the Oklahoma Supreme Court to reverse the denial. The Supreme Court held that state labeling statutes defined the scope of any duty to disclose and preempted any common law duties or any duty under the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act.
MDL No. 1733 – In re Teflon Products Liability Litigation, 254 F.R.D. 354 (S.D. Iowa 2008): Shook represented DuPont in an MDL that consisted of 23 proposed statewide class actions. Plaintiffs contended that Teflon®-coated pans pose a health risk to consumers, but they sought only economic damages. Shook helped secure a denial of class certification in all 23 cases.
Miller v. Hertz Corp., No. CV 08-3929, slip op. (C.D. Cal. Sept. 14, 2009): Shook represented Hertz in a putative consumer fraud class action alleging that the California insurance commissioner had not approved Hertz’s insurance rates and that Hertz had not adequately disclosed the deductible. In September 2009, Shook obtained a dismissal of all but one claim, defeating the class allegations and leaving an individual claim for which Shook achieved a settlement with favorable terms for Hertz.
Threlkeld v. Cingular Wireless, Inc., No. 01-CV-212799 (Jackson Cty., Mo. 2001): Shook represented Cingular Wireless, LLC in a putative class asserted on behalf of wireless service customers seeking to recover under breach of contract and unjust enrichment theories based on the claim that Cingular failed to disclose the rollover provisions of their consumer contracts. The Court denied class certification, finding that individual issues of contractual interpretation predominated.
Top Branch Environmental Services, Inc. v. Hoodridge Unlimited, Inc., et al., No. 08-cv-60767 (S.D. Fla. July 10, 2009): Shook represented Home Depot in a consolidated putative class action against mulch manufacturers and retailers for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, alleging mulch bags were systematically “short” of the volume stated on the label. Shook developed a strategy to defeat class certification based on the class representative going into bankruptcy during the lawsuit, which led to the case settling on very favorable terms. The court sustained defendants’ objections to a proposed substitute class representative.
Larkin v. GameStop, Inc. (S.D. Fla.): Shook is defending GameStop in a consumer fraud class action alleging that the used games it sells state on the box that the purchase includes free downloadable content but the purchaser of the used game is forced to pay a fee for the additional content because the original purchaser already used the free code.
Snyder, et al. v. ACORD Corporation, et al., No. 1:14-CV-01736-JLK (D. Colo. 2014): Shook is defending Property & Casualty Insurers of America and Nationwide Insurance Co. in this class action asserting RICO and other counts premised on alleged fraudulent insurance practices.