Eric Knapp has extensive experience defending major class actions in state and federal courts, asserting consumer protection, product defect, toxic tort, unfair business practice, and wage and hour claims against some of the best-known companies worldwide. His clients include automobile manufacturers and distributors, insurance companies, chemical companies, the food industry and more.

    Eric is a litigator who gets fully involved in every aspect of his cases – formulating strategy, intensive motions practice, oral argument, taking and defending depositions, preparing expert witnesses and mediation/arbitration. He zealously and efficiently litigates his cases in which high exposure – both financial and reputational – is the norm.

    Most of the class actions Eric has defended have been dismissed at the pleading stage, on summary judgment, or defeated at class certification. Eric coordinates class actions all over the country for his clients, including MDLs, assuring a consistent approach across all jurisdictions. He also coordinates parallel, regulatory proceedings.In addition to his focus on litigating and coordinating state- and nation-wide class actions, Eric has broad experience in trade secret misappropriation suits across a wide range of industries. He routinely counsels and educates his clients and their employees on trade secret matters and risk avoidance. Eric also defends product liability actions. He has specialized experience in working with experts on medical and scientific aspects of health-related product liability claims.

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    • Defeated class certification in sprawling nationwide class action spanning over eight years alleging certain types of wheel and tire combinations equipped on vehicles were defectively designed.  Court ruled, among other things, that individualized issues of causation defeated predominance. See Luppino v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134733 (D.N.J. Aug. 10, 2016), aff’d, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24511 (3d. Cir. Dec. 5, 2017).
    • Obtained summary judgment for automobile distributor in class action alleging a “safety” defect and asserting an array of warranty and consumer fraud claims. The Court also denied plaintiff’s pending motion for class certification as moot. See Avedisian v. Mercedes-Benz, USA, LLC, 43 F. Supp. 3d 1071 (C.D. Cal. 2014).
    • Defended automobile distributor in class action asserting breach of warranty, unfair competition, and fraudulent concealment. Class certification was denied for, among other reasons, lack of commonality and the remaining individual case was dismissed with prejudice. See Cholakyan v. Mercedes-Benz, USA, LLC, 281 F.R.D. 534 (C.D. Cal. 2012).
    • Defended a major insurance carrier in nationwide class action alleging illusory contract, unfair competition, and false advertising. Claims dismissed with prejudice prior to class certification.
    • Defeated class certification of mass tort and medical monitoring claims in six-year litigation involving parallel environmental administrative action. Denial of class certification upheld on appeal. See Lipinski v. Beazer East, Inc., 2005 WL 3955773 (Pa. Com. Pl. Oct. 18, 2005) (NO. 04-10300), affirm’d 909 A.2d 896 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2006).
    • Defended one of the nation's largest automobile manufacturers in one of the first­­­­­­–and still largest–nationwide class actions ever to go to trial, asserting automotive “concealed defect” cases under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and other theories.
    • Defended a leading US manufacturer of confectionery and related grocery products in FLSA/California Labor Code opt­in class action alleging the company’s sales representatives were improperly classified as exempt from overtime.
    • Defended a national insurance company in class action alleging deceptive sales practices for its life and disability products, asserting breach of contract and unfair competition law claims.
    • Defended a chemical company in parallel class action and consolidated mass tort action alleging personal injury and “shelter­in­place” claims asserted in the wake of a highly publicized chemical release.

    Speaking Engagements

    • “Aggressive Strategies for Defending Class Actions”, Association of Corporate Counsel 2018 Summer CLE, Santa Clara, California, June 7, 2018.
    • “One class action or 50? Choice of Law Considerations as a Potential Impediment to Nationwide Class Action Settlements in the Wake of In re: Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation,” ABA Litigation Section 5th Annual Western Regional Program on Class Actions and Mass Torts, San Francisco, California, June 22, 2018.

    Education

    • University of New Mexico, J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif
    • University of Colorado, B.S.

    Admissions

    • California
    • New Mexico

    Courts

    • U.S. Dist. Ct., N. Dist. of California
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., C. Dist. of California
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., Dist. of New Mexico
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., Dist. of Colorado
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., E. Dist. of Michigan
    • U.S. Dist. Ct., E. Dist. of Missouri
    • U.S. Ct. of App., Third Circuit
    • U.S. Ct. of App., Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. Ct. of App., Tenth Circuit

    • Co-author, with Alan P. Jacobus, “Insurance and Class Actions: How the United States Supreme Court’s 2011 Dukes, Concepcion and Smith Decisions Will Change the Way Insurance Class Actions Are Litigated,” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Class Actions and Mealey’s Emerging Insurance Disputes, May 2012.
    • Author, “Turning Blood into Whine: ‘Fear of AIDS’ as a Cognizable Cause of Action,” 28 N.M. L. Rev. 165, 1998.

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