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Author: riskAdmin

Risk Settlements > Articles posted by riskAdmin

General Counsel Q&A: Risk Transfer with Class Action Settlement Insurance

Seth Hopson, the former General Counsel of North American Power and Gas, discusses his experience with class action litigation and the benefits of class action settlement risk transfer.   Can you tell us about your role within the company? I was the General Counsel of a retail energy company serving 300,000+ retail and small commercial customers in the New England, Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. As such, I was responsible for all litigation and risk management on the legal and regulatory side of the business.   How frequently was your organization impacted by litigation? During the seven years from the inception of the business until the sale of the business, we went to trial once and were also involved in a multi-state class action litigation covering a potential customer class of over 700,000 current and former retail residential customers. That matter included allegations that the company breached our terms of service...

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An Interview with Defense Counsel: Paul Karlsgodt of Baker Hostetler

[vc_row triangle_shape="no"][vc_column][vc_column_text] In this interview, Paul Karlsgodt, Chair of Baker Hostetler’s Class Action Practice Group, discusses the benefits of working with Risk Settlements and the value of settlement risk transfer solutions.   Tell us about your practice and your department. I lead a nationwide practice of approximately 30 litigators who specialize in consumer class action defense.   How frequently do you handle class action cases? 95% of my practice is dedicated to defending class actions. I lead between one and two dozen active class actions pending at any given time.   What types? These days, most of my work is in the area of data security and privacy, but I also handle class actions involving consumer insurance coverage, pricing, and miscellaneous alleged violations of consumer protection laws.   Have you had any recent noteworthy victories? My most noteworthy recent victories have been in the area of data security class actions. In particular, we have been successful in getting an...

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Class Settlements And The Risks Of Viral Media Attention

Unfortunately, class action settlements tend to be another step down the road of financial uncertainty and unpredictability. In the class action context, when resolving a case using a claims-made settlement, the financial payout varies significantly, which can adversely impact liquidity, enterprise value, cash flow and assets. Additionally, when settlements go viral, companies face extreme losses which could exceed reserves and available cash on hand. So what causes cases to go viral and create unmitigated financial risk for settling companies? The answer is simple and also multifaceted: the internet. Digital communications and the thirst for relevant news content have completely changed how consumers gain awareness of class actions and how they file claims for settlement benefits. As a result of these changes, the ability to reach potential class members as well as those intent on abusing the system to receive free cash has created a fundamentally different risk paradigm for those looking...

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To Insure or Not to Insure with Class Action Settlement Insurance? That is the Question.

For most companies, Class Action Settlement Insurance is the answer. Few organizations walk away from a class action lawsuit unscathed. After spending significant sums to defend, the vast majority of cases result in some type of monetary settlement. Additionally, key executives can be diverted from business for months on end. Adding insult to injury, today’s media climate dramatically increases the likelihood that a class action will go viral. Cases against popular brands are frequently picked up by national news sources. Moreover, scores of websites and social media pages are dedicated to finding putative class members and instructing them on how to make a claim. In one widely publicized action, for example, a settlement involving the energy-drink brand Red Bull resulted in nearly 3 million class members seeking a $10 payout. In short, the risks associated with class action suits are greater than ever. But there is a way to mitigate this...

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Class Action Promotion Sites and Free Media: The Business of Making Claims Go Viral

Class action lawsuits are a much bigger risk today than they were 30 years ago. The internet has completely changed how consumers gain awareness of class action lawsuits and how they file claims for settlement benefits. As a result of these changes, class sizes have grown exponentially. In years past, known class members received direct notice, via mail, of their right to file a claim. Additionally, claim notices and filing instructions might be posted in one or two relevant print publications. For many consumers, filing a claim was more trouble than it was worth. Today, scores of websites and social media groups exist for two key purposes: (1) notifying the public of available class action settlement payouts; and (2) providing a quick and easy portal for filing claims. The impact of these sites is undeniable. For example, in one recent case against a supplement manufacturer, of the 44,000 consumers who filed a...

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Class Action Litigation Uncertainty: The M&A Killer

It is no secret that class action lawsuits can have disastrous effects on mergers and acquisitions. One need look no further than the news to meet this point. In 2003, for example, famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich filed a class action lawsuit against Wainoco, a subsidiary of Frontier Oil Corp. At the time, Frontier was a party to a merger agreement with Holly Corp. worth $450 million. When news of the class action broke, Holly Corp. backed out of the merger, citing concern over the impact the suit would have on Frontier’s stock prices and overall financial condition. That situation is not unusual. Just this year, Tribune Media backed out of a planned merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Though that merger fell apart for several reasons, the fact that Sinclair was defending three class action lawsuits played a role in the deal’s demise. The truth is, class action lawsuits form a giant wall...

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The Impact of Free Media on Class Actions

Class action lawsuits are certainly not new. Indeed, some scholars believe they date back to medieval times, when groups of villagers would choose three or four representatives to represent their collective interests in court. What is new, however, is the rampant popularity of class action lawsuits in the age of the internet and social media. Whereas notice to class members historically came by way of mailings or publication in relevant periodicals, today class membership is an advertised commodity. Consequently, class awards have the potential of becoming exponentially larger than they’ve ever been. By way of illustration, this article presents some of the top websites advertising quick cash through participation in class action suits. It also explores several case studies illustrating how media attention to class action lawsuits has changed the way class payouts are made. Additionally, the article touches on the desirability of various settlement structures that may help stem the tide of...

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Risk Settlements Welcomes Legal Director Ross Weiner

PLANO, TX (October 29, 2018) -- Risk Settlements, a leading provider of class action settlement insurance and solutions, announced today that Ross Weiner has joined the firm as legal director. In his role, Weiner will be consulting with businesses, corporate and defense counsel, court mediators, and insurance carriers and brokers about threatened or existing litigation, focusing on potential settlement structures, and providing risk-free alternatives to unpredictable settlement outcomes. Weiner was previously a partner in Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigation practice, where he vigorously defended companies facing class action litigation in various state and federal courts. He earned his J.D., with high honors, from The George Washington University Law School and his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Colgate University. Says Weiner, “While in practice, I saw firsthand the quantitative and qualitative analyses performed by Risk Settlements and the value it provided to clients. I am very excited to join the Risk...

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When is the right time to settle a class action?

Perhaps more than any other type of litigation, class actions often feature dynamic shifts that quickly alter the settlement landscape. For example, the court’s ruling on a motion to compel discovery may bring a new perspective on liability exposure. And a decision on class certification often upends both parties’ expectations. The risks and benefits of continuing to defend class actions are constantly changing. Accordingly, defense counsel would be wise to analyze settlement options at every phase of the case. Finding the most efficient litigation off-ramps is one of the greatest skills a lawyer can develop. And perhaps nowhere is that skill more critical than in class actions. In this article, first we present a case study of a good settlement opportunity that was lost only to be exploited by class counsel later in the case. Next, we explore some of the nuances that should inform the settlement analyses throughout litigation. Case Study In one...

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Seven Reasons Companies Seek Class Action Certainty Through Risk Transfer

Companies spend billions of dollars defending class action lawsuits each year. Compared to other forms of litigation, defending a class case is exceptionally challenging because the percentage of these cases considered “bet the company” continues to rise, while the overwhelming majority still results in settlement. Compounding the complexity of these matters is the universal understanding that the company’s and class counsel’s perspectives on settlement are wholly divergent. Knowing this, companies looking for certainty should consider risk transfer as a viable strategy in class action litigation.