Defense Lawyers Ready for Consumer Class Action Cases Filed in State Court

Reuters examined a Supreme Court decision June 25, 2021, in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez that firms up the Spokeo test for class action plaintiffs, requiring plaintiffs to show a concrete injury, not just increased risk of harm, to sue in federal court.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissent that the result may “throw open the doors to state courts for class actions alleging violations of federal consumer laws.”

Defense attorneys think the move to state court will increase expenses for both sides as they litigate jurisdiction. Shook’s Andy Trask, of counsel, and Phil Goldberg, who co-leads the firm’s public policy practice, predict the decision will force the plaintiff’s bar to change its tactics.

“The TransUnion decision will disrupt the class action bar’s preferred business model, in which plaintiffs lawyers capitalize on a sympathetic plaintiff with concrete injuries to seek certification of a class alleging statutory violations. The new Supreme Court ruling creates a divide between those groups, and state-court judges and juries won’t have much sympathy for plaintiffs whose only claim is a technical statutory violation,” Trask and Goldberg told Reuters.

Goldberg brings more than 25 years of experience on high stakes and high-profile liability-related public policy, public affairs and public relations issues, and counsels businesses and their trade organizations.

Trask focuses his practice on class action and complex litigation in various industries, including the automotive industry and financial services. He has co-authored several books on class actions including The Class Action Playbook.