Opt-Out Lawyers in High-Stakes Litigation
As federal and state court rulings continue to strengthen roadblocks to class action certification, increasing numbers of in-house counsel are being left to decide on aggressive outside counsel to pursue high-stakes plaintiff’s litigation as individual plaintiffs. Faced with mounting hurdles to class action certification, for example in the context of antitrust price-fixing lawsuits, many in-house attorneys travel the road of inertia and opt to retain counsel for their litigation that has typically been strongly aligned with defense of claims against the company.
Firms that have historically provided corporate defense services may simply lack the experience, insight, and orientation towards plaintiff’s litigation to ensure success in this role. Where antitrust defense representation may call for slow deliberation on a meticulous, plodding track, plaintiff’s litigation often demands a more aggressive approach with an eye towards resolution sooner than later.
Recently, a couple of historically defense-oriented Big Law firms demonstrated how changing hats to plaintiff’s litigation may imperil corporate interests. Attorneys at Paul Weiss missed an opt-out deadline, causing their client, Sharp Electronics, to accept a $1.3 million share of a class action settlement. It has been projected that by opting out of this class action, recovered damages could have eclipsed $100 million.
Other Big Law, historically defense-oriented firms including Alston & Bird and Jones Day have failed to meet opt-out deadlines in class action lawsuits, oversights that could potentially cost their clients hundreds of millions of dollars.
Audet & Partners, LLP has pursued plaintiff interests almost exclusively for 20 years. Managing Partner William Audet has spearheaded plaintiff’s litigation that has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. Besides being an aggressive litigator with keen insight into the nuances of plaintiff’s litigation, Mr. Audet applies keen business acumen in strategically working towards optimal settlements for his clients.
If you are considering opting out of high-stakes litigation, we welcome the opportunity to provide a free analysis of your situation and provide an assessment as experienced, successful plaintiff’s opt-out lawyers. You can request a free consultation either by calling us at (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting our confidential inquiry form on the right side of this page.
About William M. Audet, Founder and Managing Partner
William M. Audet, J.D., LL.M., LL.D (honorary), is the founding partner of Audet & Partners, LLP, a plaintiff’s only law firm recognized for its aggressive prosecution of class action and complex litigation cases. Mr. Audet and his firm represent individuals, families and small businesses in fraud, defective pharmaceutical drugs and devices, product defects, privacy rights, construction defects, toxic torts, employment, business & insurance issues, shareholder rights, qui tam and antitrust claims. The partners and associates at Mr. Audet’s firm have collectively filed and prosecuted hundreds of individual, personal injury, mass tort, commercial business and class action cases throughout the United States. For over thirty (30) years, as a plaintiff’s attorney, Mr. Audet has dedicated himself to ensuring that justice is obtained for his individual and class clients. The results speak for themselves, as Mr. Audet has recovered significant financial compensation for his clients.
Education & Clerkships: Mr. Audet is somewhat unique in his career path, starting with his post law school extension of his legal scholarly work (awarded a Juris Doctor degree and later obtaining both a Master of Law degree and an honorary ‘Doctorate’ in law). Mr. Audet is in fact one of the few practicing attorneys in the United States with three legal degrees (in addition to his B.A undergraduate degree with one major and two minors) and has also uniquely served as a law clerk to two different federal court judges.
After graduating from U.C. Davis with a B.A. degree, Mr. Audet graduated (with highest honors and top of his class (i.e., top 1%)) and earned a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1984. In 1987, in an effort to continue his quest for learning, Mr. Audet obtained a Masters of Law (LL.M.) from the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 1987. While working on his LL.M. degree, Mr. Audet was also employed by the U.W. School of Law as a clinical professor, using his own material (and secondary sources), for an advanced law school course on prisoner and civil rights. In 2013, Mr. Audet was formally awarded a Doctor of Law (honorary degree) from the Golden Gate University School of Law for his significant contributions to the legal community, his scholarly work and his dedication to the law school. After completion of his LL.M., Mr. Audet was hired as a staff attorney/law clerk at the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. In 1988, Mr. Audet was selected to serve as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Fern M. Smith (Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California). As his one year term was ending for Judge Smith, Mr. Audet was requested to continue his work as a law clerk, and in 1989, was honored to serve as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Alfonso J. Zirpoli (Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.)
After Judge Zirpoli ‘retired’ from active duty on the Federal Bench, Mr. Audet was hired as a senior associate at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein (becoming a partner in five years). A few years later, Mr. Audet established his own law firm, Audet & Partners, LLP, as part of his effort to expand his practice areas and to establish a premier law firm that focused on only representing plaintiffs, dedicated to idea of providing excellent legal services to individuals, families and small business in a variety of legal fields.
Appointments, Recognitions & Commitment to Justice: Mr. Audet, along with the attorneys at Audet & Partners, LLP, have collectively recovered millions of dollars for individual and class clients, and the firm is repeatedly recognized by its peers as a top tier plaintiffs only law firm, with affiliated co-counsel in almost every state in the United States. Over the past few years, Mr. Audet has been appointed to leadership roles in dozens of class action and mass tort cases in state and federal courts, including, but not limited to, In re Baycol Products Liability Litigation, D. Minn., MDL No. 1431 (Executive Committee); In re PRK/Lasik Consumer Litigation, Santa Clara Superior Court, Master File No. CV772894 (Lead Counsel); In re Ancure/Guidant Litigation, N.D. Cal. (San Jose), Master File No. 09-02797-JF (Lead Counsel); In re Zyprexa Product Liability Litigation, E.D.N.Y., MDL No. 1596 (Lead Counsel); In re Bextra and Celebrex Marketing Sales Practices and Product Liability Litigation, N.D. Cal. (San Francisco), MDL No. 1699 (Executive Committee).
Mr. Audet has served as lead counsel in a number of unique and groundbreaking cases, with the ultimate goal of protecting the rights of his clients, obtaining financial compensation for individuals, family members, small businesses and class members, as well as benefiting society as whole through precedent setting lawsuits. Among other cases, the firm of Audet & Partners, LLP served as lead counsel in the groundbreaking case involving an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay Area waters, entitled Cosco Oil Spill Case, N.D. Cal. (San Francisco)( Mr. Audet and Audet & Partners, LLP. as part of its work for his small business clients and fisherman, obtained a court order seizing the M/V Cosco Busan ship (requiring Mr. Audet to obtain a multimillion dollar bond to keep the ship from leaving U.S. waters) and obtaining another court order to prevent defendants from claiming class members waived certain claims by accepting initial compensation under OPA.) Mr. Audet was one of the Co-Lead Counsel in the nationally known pet food recall case, entitled Menu Foods MDL No. 1850 (a record $25 million dollar recovery for pet owners). Mr.Audet has been appointed to serve as co-lead counsel in a number of important class action cases, as well as appointed to serve on a number of Executive Committee positions in various construction and product defect and business and consumer cases pending in different state and federal courts throughout the United States. Mr. Audet recently resolved, after 3 plus years of litigation, claims asserted by dentists regarding an alleged defective implant, on a class wide basis, with the claimants obtaining potentially 100% of any out of pocket costs for the implant. Mr. Audet and his firm recently filed one of the first class action cases in Mexico relating to claims of thousands of financially injured fisherman in Mexico.
Mr. Audet has served as a panelist at numerous conferences on issues ranging from privacy rights, class actions and defective pharmaceutical drugs. Mr. Audet is the coauthor of a book on federal discovery: Handling Federal Discovery, Audet & Fanady (James Publishing) (now in its 12th edition), as well the author of a ‘judicial brochure’ for use by judges and attorneys in Mexico relating to the passage of the class action bill in Mexico (Manual del LIbro Quinto, “Acciones Colectivas” (Codigo Federal De Procedimientos Civiles, Articulos 578 a 625)).
In 2005, Mr. Audet was named as the “Champion of Justice” by the San Francisco Bar Association (Legal Foundation) for his longstanding contribution to the legal community and his pro bono activities. Mr. Audet serves on the Bar Association of San Francisco’s legal foundations judicial review committee, among other activities in the local bar association. Over the past thirty years, Mr. Audet has made significant financial contributions to various regional and national legal aid organizations, as well as sponsored many fund raising activities to support legal non-profit clinics. In addition, Mr. Audet’s firm serves as the sole financial sponsor of a non-profit foundation provides shoes, clothing and food to needy children in Mexico (“Little Steps of Light”).
Mr. Audet has been selected repeatedly as a “Super Lawyer” in his field of litigation and recognized as a “Top Attorney” for the Northern District of California for class action and mass tort cases. In 2013, Golden Gate University School of Law awarded Mr. Audet a “Doctorate of Law” (LL.D.) for his significant legal and financial contributions to the law community, scholarly work, pro bono activities, and commitment to Golden Gate University School of Law. At the 2013 GGU Law School graduation ceremony, Mr. Audet was a keynote speaker. Mr. Audet has been frequently quoted by the press on a variety of topics, and has appeared on CNN and other news stations regarding his firm’s cases.
For a copy of Audet & Partners, LLP’s resume, click here to visit the firm’s resume webpage.
For a copy of recent interview of Mr.Audet (reprinted in ‘Superlawyer’ Magazine), click here.