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Litigation Tactics to Defeat Class Certification: Leveraging Pleadings, Evidence and Settlement Mechanisms

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will discuss several tools and tactics available to practitioners to defeat class actions during the certification stage. Although federal and state rules may differ, most states’ class certification requirements track those found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure such that the examples and tips discussed in this webinar will have broad application to class actions around the country.


Class certification is the main event in any class action, and the stakes are high for both sides. If the court certifies a class, the potential liability of an adverse verdict often substantially increases. If the court declines to approve a class, the defendant is often “home free” because many plaintiffs conclude that the costs of litigation do not justify the pursuit of individual claims.

For these reasons, defense counsel must understand the various ways to defeat class certification during an early phase of the case. There are at least three stages that present critical opportunities to defeat class certification: (1) at the pleading stage, (2) at summary judgment, and (3) on a motion for class certification. During the pleadings stage, a defendant can sometimes conclusively defeat a bid for class certification by, for example, presenting a motion to compel arbitration. Or it might at least be able to limit the scope of the proposed class by prevailing on a motion to strike the class allegations in part.

Summary judgment, too, can either stop a class action in its tracks, narrow the scope of a class certification motion, or at least educate the court and the parties on the issues in a way that highlights individualized issues that will be the focus of a later opposition to class certification. Finding the delicate balance of attacking the class certification elements while simultaneously portraying how the merits would be decided if the classes were to be certified is essential for defense attorneys.

And of course the class certification motion presents the main event—and in most cases that last real opportunity to ensure that the case does not proceed as a class. Recent case law can guide counsel in taking advantage of these opportunities to establish that class treatment is inappropriate in a given case.

Listen as our distinguished panel discusses how to leverage motions, evidence and testimony to prepare a litigation plan to defeat class certification in federal or state court.



  1. Overview of recent class action case law developments
  2. Discussion of strategies to defeat class certification at the pleadings stage
  3. Applying case law to create strategies to defeat class certification during a trial
  4. Analysis of how defendants can leverage arbitration and settlement mechanisms


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • During the pleadings stage, what types of motions are most effective in limiting or defeating class certification?
  • Once a case proceeds beyond the pleading stage, how can defendants use recent case law to prepare a strategy to avoid class certification?
  • How do arbitration and settlement fit into a defendant’s approach?


Herrington, Robert
Robert J. Herrington

Co-Chair, Class Action Litigation Group
Greenberg Traurig

Mr. Herrington's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including class actions in the areas of false...  |  Read More

Wyatt, Geoffrey
Geoffrey M. Wyatt

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Mr. Wyatt represents clients in mass tort and other aggregate litigation. He defends companies as part of a team that...  |  Read More

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