Class Actions and Multi-District Litigation

CLASS ACTIONS AND MULTI-DISTRICT LITIGATION

Class actions, Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”) and mass litigation play an ever-increasing role of significance in today’s world.

The Court System of the past Century was designed to address “one-on-one” problems, disputes and injuries of an Industrial Age. In today’s complex society, mass-produced consumer goods and transactions of every nature impact millions of citizens at a time. Global production and financial centralization, technology and computerization, and the standardization of consumer transactions have resulted in the need for new ways to resolve disputes and enforce legal rights in today’s 21st Century.

The attorneys at Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott & Nowak have extensive experience in class action and multi-district litigation throughout the nation.

The firm is an acknowledged leader in class litigation and Multi-District Litigation in Mississippi and throughout the United States. Partner Richard T. Phillips has served as Lead Counsel in nationally certified Rule 23 class actions and MDL proceedings, and is a recognized speaker at state and national symposiums on the subjects.

Federal Rule 23 Class Actions
Smith Phillips is a leader in federal class action litigation in Mississippi and throughout the nation.

The firm has served as lead counsel and co-lead counsel in a numerous cases from coast-to-coast in which classes have been successfully certified under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, resulting in recoveries for thousands of citizens nationwide. Smith Phillips has extensive experience in MultiDistrict Litigation and has served as class counsel in numerous cases consolidated for MDL purposes.

Cases successfully handled on a class action basis include “Vanishing Premium” and Deceptive Sales Practices life insurance cases, Interest-crediting cases, Group Association Health Insurance cases, and actions under the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act for benefits for terminated employees.

Among the Federal Rule 23 class actions successfully handled by our Smith Phillips attorneys are:

  • Brent R. Nickle, Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated vs. Crown Life Insurance Company, Civil Action No. M-96-238 (S.D. Tex.) (Class action case on behalf of 22,000 member nationwide class of “vanishing premium” life insurance policyholders);
  • In re Jackson National Life Insurance Company Premium Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1122 (W.D. Mich); Jones v. Jackson National Life, Civil Action No. 5:01-CV-159 (N.D. Miss.) (Co-lead counsel in nationwide consolidated Multidistrict class action involving interest crediting practices on interest sensitive life policies);
  • In re UICI “Association-Group” Insurance Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1578 (N.D. Tex.); Golebiowski v. Mega Life and Health Insurance Company, et al., Civil Action No. 3:04-cv-00831 (N.D. Miss.) (Co-lead counsel in nationwide consolidated Multidistrict class action concerning heatlh insurance sales of group association policies);
  • Florence R. Roberts, Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated. v. FFP Advisory Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:05-cv-38-D-D (N.D. Miss.) (Lead Counsel in nationwide settlement regarding insured financial products litigation);
  • In re General American Life Insurance Company Sales Practices Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1179 (E.D. Mo.); Bobby L. Chain, Sr., Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated vs. General American Life Insurance Company, Civil Action No. 4:96CV046-B-B (N.D. Miss.) (Co-lead counsel in nationwide consolidated Multidistrict deceptive sales practices litigation in St. Louis);
  • In re Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Premium Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1109; John L. Burwell, Jr., Karen Burwell, Robert O’Connor, Marcella O’Connor and Robmar Holding Co., Inc., Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated vs. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company of America, and the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), Civil Action No. 4:96CV41-B-B (N.D. Miss.) (Richard (Flip) Phillips, Plaintiffs Executive Steering Committee counsel in $500 million deceptive sales practices settlement for nationwide class of life insurance policyholders);
  • In re Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada Sales Practices Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1102; Edward A. Landrum, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated vs. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Civil Action No. 4:95 CV 409-B-B (N.D. Miss.) (Plaintiffs Executive Steering Committee counsel for nationwide class in MDL consolidated case in New Jersey.)
  • Betty Jo Waddle, Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated v. Belle Casinos, Inc. and Biloxi Casino Belle, Inc., Adversary Proceeding No. 95-0828-SEG, United States Bankruptcy Court; Belle Casinos, Incorporated (Debtor), Case No. 94-08533-SEG, Biloxi Casino Belle, Inc. (Debtor), Case No. 94-08534-SEG (Represented 660 former employees in WARN Act suit under Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Successfully recovered termination benefits for employees of closed casino).

For a look at the historical context and practical aspects of class actions and mass litigation in Mississippi, see “Class Actions and Joinder in Mississippi,” Richard T. Phillips, 71 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL 447, publication of Phillips’ presentation at the symposium “Litigation in Mississippi Today.”

Multi-District Litigation

Members of the firm have served, and currently serve, as co-lead counsel and/or members of the plaintiffs’ steering committees on numerous nationwide cases. See, for example:

  • In re Fresenius Granuflo / Naturalyte Dialysate Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2428 (D. Mass.) (Member of Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in national dialysis litigation currently pending in Massachusetts);
  • In re Jackson National Life Insurance Company Premium Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1122 (W.D. Mich) (Co-lead counsel in nationwide consolidated Multidistrict class action involving interest crediting practices on interest sensitive life policies in Lansing, Michigan);
  • In re UICI “Association-Group” Insurance Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1578 (N.D. Tex.) (Co-lead counsel in nationwide consolidated Multidistrict class action concerning heatlh insurance sales of group association policies in Dallas, Texas);
  • In re Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Premium Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1109 (Counsel for original plaintiff and member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in $500 million Multidistrict Litigation class action settlement, San Diego, California);
  • In re Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada Sales Practices Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1102 (Counsel for plaintiff and member of Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in $80 million settlement of nationwide life insurance deceptive sales practices case in Newark, New Jersey);
  • In re General American Life Insurance Company Sales Practices Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1179 (Co-lead counsel in consolidated MDL deceptive sales practices litigation in St. Louis, Missouri).

For more information on class action or MDL litigation, contact Richard T. (Flip) Phillips or Jason Nabors at Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott & Nowak.