Set forth below is a representative sample of litigation that Fazio | Micheletti LLP

principals have resolved, usually in the capacity of lead or co-lead counsel.

Representative Cases

Howard v. Ford Motor Co.

Cal. Super. Ct,, Alameda Cty.

Lead counsel for plaintiffs in 30-million-member class action based on defendant’s violations of Consumers Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law by concealing safety-related defect from government regulators and millions of consumers. Case was one of six related actions pending throughout the United States, which involved appearances before several federal courts, including U.S. District Courts in three states, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the Ninth Circuit, the California Court of Appeal (three times) and the California Supreme Court (twice). Equity phase of bifurcated trial resulted in the first court-ordered automotive recall in a private civil action in U.S. history and an order requiring Ford to provide full restitution. Legal phase of trial resulted in hung jury and subsequent writ petition over claim for $3.6 billion in statutory damages.

 

Negotiated nationwide settlement valued at $2.7 billion while preparing to retry claims in jury phase, which included warranty extension (from five years or 50,000 miles to 10 years or 100,000 miles) and establishment of a $5 million fund for use in conducting safety research by George Washington University’s National Crash Analysis Center.

Opposing Counsel: O'Melveny & Myers LLP; Snell & Wilmer LLP; Wheeler Trigg & Kennedy LLP

Carden v. General Motors Corp.

Cal. Super. Ct., Santa Clara Cty.

Co-lead counsel (with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati LLP) for plaintiffs in statewide (240,000-member) class action based on defendant’s violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act by concealing defect in mini-vans. Negotiated settlement providing relief for all class members. 

Opposing Counsel: Bingham McCutchen LLP

Daniel v. American Honda Motor Co.

Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty.

Lead counsel for plaintiffs in nationwide class action based on violations of Consumers Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law in connection with sale of vehicles with defective windshields (which crack spontaneously or with slight impact), costing up to $900 to repair. Case was resolved on favorable terms in nationwide settlement: All class members entitled to full reimbursement for windshield repairs and to a warranty extension that virtually doubled class members’ coverage.​

Opposing Counsel:  Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

Trew v. Volvo Cars of North America LLC

USDC, Eastern District of California

Co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in nationwide class action based on fraudulent concealment of safety defect in Electronic Throttle Module (“ETM”) in nearly a half million Volvo cars and light trucks, in violation of California’s False Advertising Law, Unfair Competition Law, and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. Negotiated settlement that required Volvo to reimburse all current and former owners of affected vehicles with 100 percent of all costs they incurred in connection with repair or replacement of ETMs (which cost up to $1,200 each), up to $50 in towing or car-rental charges, and an extension of the ETM warranty to 10 years or 200,000 miles. 

Opposing Counsel: O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Davis v. American Honda Motor Co.

Cal. Super. Ct., Placer Cty.

Counsel for Center for Auto Safety (together with co-counsel, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice) in challenge of order sealing record containing sanctions decision. Sanctions were imposed against defense expert in product liability case; expert was found to have destroyed evidence, which led to striking of defendant’s answer. Sanctions decision was sealed as part of global settlement with plaintiff, but sanctioned expert then used sealing order as a basis for refusing to answer questions about destruction of evidence and as a threat against lawyers asking questions about sealed sanctions order. Motion granted, record unsealed, and order issued clarifying that sanctions order cannot be used offensively.

Opposing Counsel:  Loeb & Loeb LLP

Bauer v. Toyota Motor Sales Corp.

Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty.

Counsel for plaintiffs in nationwide class action based on violations of Consumers Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law in connection with sale of vehicles with defective windshields (which crack spontaneously or with slight impact), costing up to $1,200 to repair. Negotiated nationwide settlement that entitled all class members to full reimbursement for windshield repairs and to a warranty extension that virtually doubled class members’ coverage.

Opposing Counsel: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP

Graham v. DaimlerChrysler, Inc.

Cal. Supreme Court

Counsel for Friends of the Earth as amicus curiae in case involving challenge to the application of catalyst theory of fee recovery in cases that benefit the public at large. Plaintiff prevailed.​

Opposing Counsel: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP;  Bryan Cave LLP; Somach, Simmons & Dunn LLP;  Latham & Watkins LLP

Wornow v. Register.com

NY Supreme Ct., New York Cty.

Lead counsel for plaintiffs in class action based on defendant’s unlawful and deceptive billing practices. Negotiated settlement that provided full reimbursement to class members worldwide and established a cy pres fund that provided $700,000 to Computers for Youth, a non-profit organization that provides computers and technology education to under-privileged children.  

Opposing Counsel: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP

Mattison v. eBay, Inc.

Cal. Super. Ct., Santa Clara Cty.

Co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in nationwide class action based on alleged billing fraud and termination of membership without providing proper notice and opportunity to defend against charges that led to termination. Case settled on behalf of individual representatives only, and resolution included changes in certain disclosure statements and satisfaction of named plaintiffs’ claims only. Firm donated approximately $250,000 in fees and litigation expenses to non-profit consumer-advocacy organizations.

Opposing Counsel: Cooley LLP

Wilson v. Airborne Health, Inc.

USDC, Central District of California

Co-lead counsel in nationwide class action involving false-advertising and consumer-deception claims against seller of Airborne Effervescent Health Formula. Defendants marketed the product as a “Miracle Cold Buster” and claimed that the second-grade school teacher who “invented” Airborne actually discovered a cure for the common cold.  Negotiated settlement agreement that created a cash fund of more than $23 million—then a record-setting amount for a false-advertising case—which was used to reimburse consumers who purchased Airborne without the need for proof of purchase; remainder of funds distributed cy pres to non-profit organizations that benefit consumers nationwide. 

Opposing Counsel: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP

In re Apple iPhone/iPod Warranty Litigation

USDC, Northern District of California

Co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in nationwide class action resulting from Apple’s use of Liquid Submersion Indicators (small pieces of dye-laden material with properties similar to litmus paper) (“LSIs”) to deny warranty claims by representing to customers that a red or pink LSI established that they had damaged their iPhone or iPod by exposing it to liquid, thereby voiding all applicable warranty coverage. Negotiated $53 million non-reversionary cash settlement, which resulted in class members receiving an average of 117% of their average losses, with remaining funds distributed by governments of states in which class members reside.

Opposing Counsel: Morrison | Foerster LLP

In re Tobacco II Litigation

Cal. Supreme Court

Counsel for Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety as amicus curiae in support of plaintiffs/appellants in appeal challenging order dismissing claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law on grounds that then-recent ballot proposition (Proposition 64) imposed strict new standing and reliance requirements that mandated claims of named plaintiffs to be identical to those of all individuals comprising the proposed class. Plaintiffs prevailed.​

Opposing Counsel:  Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP; Dechert LLP; DLA Piper LLP; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Loeb & Loeb LLP; Reed Smith LLP; Kaye Scholer LLP; Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP; Morrison | Foerster LLP; Lendrum Law Firm

Chenn v. Knabb

Cal. Super. Ct, Alameda Cty.

Counsel for Plaintiff in shareholder-derivative action based on board of directors’ approval of sale of $10 million of stock in Pegasus Wireless Corporation to Pegasus’s CEO and subsequent repurchase of stock for the original sale price after stock price plummeted from $8 to less than $1 a share. Case was among several shareholder-derivative suits and shareholder class actions based on alleged director misconduct, but the only one to survive two bankruptcy petitions and multiple dispositive motions that led to dismissal of other actions. Although two defendants (former Pegasus CEO and CFO) failed to appear and were subsequently found liable for stock fraud in SEC action and jailed for criminally violating federal securities laws, successfully negotiated settlement of all claims with remaining defendants. 

Opposing Counsel: Fenwick & West LLP

Glover v. Mahrt

Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty.

Prosecuted false-advertising case with the non-profit Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”) on behalf of consumers who purchased “cage-free” eggs from defendant egg producer, which falsely depicted hens roaming freely on an expansive green field and stated that the hens were “raised in wide open spaces in Sonoma Valley, where they are free to ‘roam, scratch, and play.’” In actuality, hens were crammed in covered sheds with no outdoor access, enabling defendant to undercut competitors’ prices by raising hens in conditions costing far less than they would if conditions existed as advertised to the public.

 

Negotiated settlement by which defendant agreed to make changes to its facilities to conform the conditions depicted in its advertising and to cease such advertising until those changes were in effect. Firm awarded ALDF’s Advancement in Animal Law Pro Bono Achievement Award for its work on this case.

Opposing Counsel: Downey Brand LLP

Hernandez v. [Anonymous] Bank

Wis. Cir. Ct.

Lead counsel for plaintiffs in action alleging financial institution engaged in fraud and breached mortgage agreements by terminating interest payments on tax and insurance impound accounts. Negotiated settlement that reinstated interest payments and provided class members with 100 cents on the dollar for all missed interest payments.

Opposing Counsel: Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, S.C.

Entertainment Research Group, Inc. v. Genesis Creative Group, Inc.

USDC, Northern District California

Case of first impression in Ninth Circuit involving derivative copyrights in characters depicted by inflatable costumes. Obtained summary judgment resulting in dismissal of all claims against client. Order upheld on appeal to Ninth Circuit.

Opposing Counsel: Cooper White & Cooper LLP; Rubenstein & Bohacheck LLP

Akins v. Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Cal. Super. Ct., Sacramento Cty.

Defense of utility district in lawsuit brought by 200 individual plaintiffs alleging that negligent operation of Rancho Seco nuclear power plant led to the discharge of radioactive waste into the atmosphere and waterways. Case dismissed on summary judgment after concluding that the undisputed facts established as a matter of law that the radiation released by Rancho Seco was not harmful to the public in general or to the plaintiffs in particular and that it was not reasonably foreseeable that the releases would cause severe emotional distress or property damage. 

Opposing Counsel: Morrison | Foerster LLP; Friedman Collard & Poswall

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