Welcome to Renner on Class Actions!
I have been advising and defending companies against consumer fraud and securities class actions for nearly twenty years. Having a specialty in class action law is different from having a specialty in other areas because class action law is about procedure. As a class action defense lawyer, I have had to apply the ins and outs of class action procedure in a variety of different substantive areas, such as data privacy (in which I am certified), consumer fraud, securities fraud, antitrust, RICO, ERISA, and even in the bankruptcy context. Throughout the years, I have been able to develop a specialty not only in class action procedure, but in these substantive areas too.
Why the blog?
I start from the basic premise that in order to successfully defend against class liability, it is necessary for companies to understand the changing class action legal landscape. And, as you can see from reading my blog, the world of class action law is rapidly changing, providing new challenges and opportunities. In the last several years, the Roberts Court has taken on a number of important and fundamental issues, ranging from the meaning of certain class action criteria (commonality and predominance), to understanding when cases belong in state or federal court, to class arbitration, to the question of whether plaintiffs in securities class actions should have the presumption of class-wide reliance they have enjoyed since 1988, for example. An understanding of the Supreme Court’s rulings and the often disparate reactions of the lower courts to these rulings is key to defending a class action in every substantive area in which a company may be sued. For instance, who could have guessed that some courts would have reacted to certain of the Supreme Court’s pro-defendant rulings by making class certification easier through “issue certification,” by bifurcating the liability and damages phases of a case? Developing an effective class action defense strategy requires an understanding of the often complex and varied world of class action jurisprudence.
In addition to defending companies in class actions, I also frequently lecture on class action law and advise companies on best practices.
I am a partner at Baker Hostetler LLP, where I chair Baker’s class action defense practice in New York. Read more about the cases I have defended here.
- J.D., Harvard Law School, 1992, cum laude
- M.A., Princeton University, Comparative Politics, 1987
- B.A., Johns Hopkins University, International Studies, 1984, with honors