Complex Consumer Litigation

McDowell Hetherington is regularly called upon by its clients to defend complex consumer-facing litigation across numerous industries and throughout the country.  The formal legal claims vary, but often include breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith, violations of state consumer protection and elder abuse statutes, and civil RICO.

Many of these suits are brought against clients in highly regulated industries like life insurance, energy, and property rental. This often implicates special rules and statutes that govern the provision of those services, adding additional complexity. Representative matters include:

  • Defending life insurance and financial service providers in claims brought by consumers alleging:
    • Cost of insurance (“COI”) rate increases violated contracts, state laws, and Actuarial Standards of Practice;
    • Failure to decrease COI rates to reflect mortality improvements;
    • Failure to increase credited interest rates to track recent benchmark interest rate increases;
    • Misrepresentations of insurance products’ tax benefits;
    • Failure to adequately conduct suitability analysis in sale of annuity contracts;
    • Improper lapse of policies, including extensive litigation related to unique California and New York lapse statutes.
  • Defending retail electricity and natural gas providers in consumer claims based on:
    • Fixed, indexed, and variable rate-setting;
    • Marketing including telesales, door-to-door, and web-based practices;
    • Contract and marketing disclosures; and
    • Privacy and information protection issues.
  • Defending product suppliers in lawsuits brought by consumers who alleged that the suppliers conspired with other parties to overcharge consumers through misrepresentations.
  • Defending property owners from claims brought by tenant-consumers for claims of improper maintenance and repair leading to individual personal and property damages.

McDowell Hetherington is uniquely poised to handle these unique types of industry- and claim-specific litigation throughout the country. We are well versed in navigating the procedural and substantive statutory nuances that layer on top of typical consumer claims.