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Maslon Obtains Victory for Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Businesses Receive Protection Against Class-Action Lawsuits

May 26, 2009

David F. Herr and Haley Schaffer, members of Maslon's Appellate Practice Group, obtained a recent victory for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in a recent case regarding certification requirements in class-action lawsuits.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce enlisted Herr to represent them in an amicus brief filed on behalf of a Minnesota employer due to a particular concern that a class-action certification order had been entered against the employer without making real findings of fact to support its decision.

As a result, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that employees seeking to initiate class-action lawsuits against Minnesota businesses must provide clear evidence that all certification requirements have been met.

Herr explained, "The lower court certified the class action based on a misinterpretation of an old U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Court of Appeals announced a rule consistent with several federal court decisions that the judge has to conduct a rigorous analysis. The trial court has to treat the certification decision as a major evidentiary matter, and not just a perfunctory exercise. The Court of Appeals decision will potentially benefit all companies facing this form of litigation."

"Class actions can present serious problems to Minnesota businesses," said Tom Hesse, vice president of government affairs at the Minnesota Chamber. "It's important that Minnesota is not viewed as a haven for initiating class-action suits."

David F. Herr is a highly regarded appellate lawyer and handles complex litigation cases. He is frequently sought out to provide practical and sophisticated advice on how to resolve difficult, multi-party disputes in trial courts and arbitral forums, as well as in the appellate courts. Herr served as President of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (2006-2007) and President of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters (2007-2008). He regularly argues cases in the Minnesota appellate courts and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. He annotates the Federal Judicial Center's Manual for Complex Litigation, published and distributed nationally by Thomson West.

Haley Schaffer is a member of Maslon's Litigation Group and focuses her practice on trial and appellate work in cases involving complex commercial disputes and business torts. She has significant experience representing clients in all stages of litigation, arbitration and appeals. Haley has represented a wide range of clients, including individuals, small businesses and global corporations. She has been recognized as a "Rising Star" by Minnesota Law & Politics since 2005.


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