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Bogus class representative? Ambush 'em



From The Recorder, in California:

When Los Angeles-based Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner partner David Aronoff wants to oppose a class action, he routinely hires private investigators to probe pre-existing relationships between plaintiffs and their lawyers, or the possibility that plaintiffs had been improperly solicited. His line of attack often works -- as recently when a federal judge issued a scathing ruling refusing to certify a consumer class in California. Even so, Aronoff's approach hasn't been widely adopted by the defense bar.

The celebrated success mentioned came in a case against vacuum cleaner maker Oreck, in which Aronoff demonstrated that a class representative had been recruited through an ad in the San Francisco Bay Guardian and had met his lawyer in person only the day before the deposition; Judge Marilyn Hall Patel refused to certify the class, making scathing reference to the "plaintiff's undeniable and overwhelming ignorance" regarding the nature of the action. "It is clear from the record that plaintiff's counsel, and not plaintiff, is the driving force behind this action." The plaintiff's firm, Long Beach-based Westrup Klick, says it did nothing wrong. (Lattman, CalBizLit, via Ted at Overlawyered). And more recently the Madison County Record has run an interview with Aronoff in which he cites details of some other cases in which his investigations have shown fakery or collusion in the selection of class representatives.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.