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Making The Best Of A Bad Situation
What can you do for a client who has made mistakes and is facing potentially devastating liability as a result? You make the best of it – by telling the truth about what happened, earning the trust of courts and juries that are deciding the case and helping them separate fact from fiction to reach a fair result.
Our client, a supplier of automotive parts, faced dozens of lawsuits brought by consumers, distributors and state governments, including several class actions. Plaintiffs across the country alleged that our client had sold used parts as new. The company brought their problem to us, and we quickly concluded that if the trials focused on our client’s conduct, the results would be bad. We had to frame the discussion in other terms – our terms.
We succeeded by admitting our client’s mistakes and turning the spotlight on the opportunistic plaintiffs’ unsubstantiated claims of multi-million dollar damages. In case after case, individual plaintiffs testified to grossly inflated damages, but either lost at trial or settled for a fraction of the amount sought. We defeated or settled six separate attempts to certify classes against our client by demonstrating the unique circumstances of the plaintiffs and the impropriety of certifying a class. We made law in the Alabama Supreme Court, bringing the first successful mandamus action to reverse a trial judge’s decision certifying a consumer class action.
In the end, these cases turned on developing a smart strategy. We were honest about our client’s mistakes, while the plaintiffs were dishonest about their damages. Our experience with judges and juries told us we could count on them to know the difference. We were right.