Littler is one of the preeminent law firms in employment class actions, defending clients in hundreds of wage and hour, discrimination and other workplace-related disputes. Our remarkable record is due to our vast experience and comprehensive understanding of substantive employment laws, procedure, and statistical analysis – crucial elements in these complex cases. Littler’s capabilities are evident in our treatise, Littler Mendelson on Employment Law Class Actions, and our annual Class Action Summit, during which Littler lawyers team with other nationally renowned experts to provide our clients cutting-edge analyses of class action issues.
In the past five years alone, Littler has defended clients in more than 950 class actions, experience that few employment firms can match. Littler is a recognized leader in understanding how federal and state arbitration statutes interface with class action procedures. Littler lawyers appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to successfully argue principles that assisted the Supreme Court in deciding AT&T v. Concepcion, which upheld the use of arbitration agreements as a means of limiting class action litigation. We rely on our extensive experience drafting, enforcing and defending arbitration policies to help clients limit exposure or avoid, pre-empt and obtain denial of class certification.
At Littler, we also partner with our clients and provide access to a wealth of resources and timely information that enables them to stay abreast of case developments and monitor costs throughout the litigation. Over the years, Littler has developed successful class action strategies that have also provided cost-savings to clients. The pivotal stage in most cases is class certification. Plaintiffs generally rely on statistics and surveys, frequently provided through expert testimony, to make their case. Littler lawyers have the know-how to discredit plaintiffs’ expert testimony and statistical evidence and develop affirmative evidence addressing the elements of Rule 23 or 216(b) certification. Littler has a solid track record of successful Daubert challenges to prominent plaintiffs’ experts, undermining their evidentiary basis for class certification.
Because experts play such a prominent role in class action litigation, we work with top experts in their fields who know how to direct their skills to the key issues in a case and attack the methodologies and credibility of the plaintiffs’ experts. Littler has developed strong relationships with leading academicians at major universities and law schools. Nobel Prize laureate Gary Becker, whose groundbreaking research is the cornerstone of the economics of discrimination, has participated in Littler’s annual Class Action Summit, as have leading economists Professors Kevin Murphy and Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago. Professors Phillip Tetlock and Gregory Mitchell, critics of the “implicit bias” theory of discrimination also have presented research and testified on behalf of Littler’s clients. Professor Arthur Miller, one of the authors of Rule 23, has been a keynote speaker at Littler conferences and has helped prepare Littler lawyers to argue before the United States Supreme Court.
In 2010, Littler had the distinction of winning two cases before the United States Supreme Court:
- Rent-A-Center West v. Jackson involved a former employee suing for discrimination who claimed our client’s arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable under Nevada law. The issue was whether it is always up to the court to decide whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable. Reversing a Ninth Circuit decision, the high court 5-4 ruled in favor of our client, holding that an arbitrator may decide the validity of the agreement as a whole if there is clear and unmistakable language giving the arbitrator that authority.
- That same week, Littler prevailed in a separate case, Granite Rock Co. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, et al, which concerned who should decide the effective date of a collective bargaining agreement with a no-strike clause. The Supreme Court again agreed with Littler’s appellate lawyers, ruling 7-2 that it was up to the court to resolve the dispute over the agreement’s ratification date. On a separate issue, the justices remanded the case to allow our client to proceed against the international parent union on the theory that the local union was acting as the international’s agent in breaching the no-strike agreement.
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