Class Action

Consumer

Susman Godfrey prides itself on its deep bench of talent, wide range of experience, and ability to take on any case, any time. Its experience in class and mass action cases is not limited to the antitrust and securities fields-the Firm has scored multi-million dollar victories in consumer and civil rights cases, oil royalty and contract litigation, and has successfully represented defendants in a host of "bet the company" class action cases.

  • Clark v. AdvanceMe, Inc., a class action brought in Los Angeles federal court challenging financial arrangements with retail merchants under California's laws against usury. Marc Seltzer, Arun Subramanian, and Drew Hansen served as lead counsel for the class. In 2011, the case was settled for approximately $23.4 million in cash and other economic consideration, approximately $19 million net to the class.

  • In 2010, Susman Godfrey was appointed co-lead counsel in the wide-ranging Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation. Susman Godfrey partners Marc Seltzer, Steven Sklaver and Rob Safi are in charge of this high-profile case, representing the economic loss class action plaintiffs.

  • In November 2008, the Firm won a jury trial for a class of California residential telephone customers against AT&T. The case involved a claim that AT&T overcharged customers by collecting $16.5 million more in Universal Service Fund charges than it paid into the Fund. The Tenth Circuit upheld the verdict. In re Universal Service Fund Telephone Billing Practices Litig., 619 F.3d 1188 (10th Cir. 2010). Susman Godfrey served as lead trial counsel and briefed and argued the appeal.

  • In July 2008, Susman Godfrey represented the Hertz Corporation in a class action case challenging the company's rental car fuel service charges. Eric Mayer successfully argued and won the appeal in the case. The class consisted of tens of thousands of class members and Plaintiffs alleged millions of dollars in damages. The Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District Court of Texas reversed the trial court's class certification order and decertified the class on all claims. This victory will serve as persuasive authority in similar cases around the country.

  • In 2006, on behalf of 4300 royalty and overriding royalty owners across the United States, Susman Godfrey attorneys Tom Paterson, Shawn Raymond, and New Mexico co-counsel obtained a $27.5 million settlement with ConocoPhillips for alleged underpayment of royalty on natural gas liquids produced from the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico and processed at the New Blanco Plant near Bloomfield, New Mexico.

  • In 2005, less than a week before the start of a jury trial in Clayton, New Mexico, OXY USA, Inc. agreed to pay $12 million to settle a class action lawsuit brought by Susman Godfrey's Thomas W. Paterson and Shawn Raymond and New Mexico co-counsel on behalf of a class of royalty owners who had leased mineral rights to OXY for the production of C02 at the Bravo Dome Unit in northeastern New Mexico. The $12 million settlement represented approximately 90% of the total amount of actual damages sought by the class. The settlement also required OXY to pay litigation expenses of $400,000 and settlement administration expenses of $200,000. Finally, OXY has agreed to change how it calculates plaintiffs' royalty on a going-forward basis. This change will result in a near doubling of the royalty amounts OXY was paying the class members before the filing of this lawsuit in 2004.

  • In 2004, Susman Godfrey's Bill Carmody won a net $40 million settlement in Shockey v. Chevron U.S.A., a royalty class action, after prevailing on hotly contested issues of class certification and choice of law. 

  • Susman Godfrey obtained class certification from the Middle District of Florida for a class of African-American employees of Western Auto Supply Co. (now owned by Advance Stores Company, Inc.) who were suing the former auto parts retailer for racial discrimination. The defendants immediately appealed the certification decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Susman Godfrey's Joseph Grinstein briefed and argued the appeal, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the class certification decision — the first such class action the Eleventh Circuit had upheld in decades. The case settled in 2003, with the defendants making a substantial payment to the class.