What to Expect From the New French Class Action Law Based on the USA's and Canada's Historic Experience

This event is co-hosted by Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and the French-American Bar Association

In 2014 France enacted legislation permitting a new species of litigation in the French courts, l'action de groupe. L'action de groupe is designed to allow individuals to obtain compensation, through a streamlined legal process, for unfair business practices or competition law violations. Although similar in many respects to the class action allowed in the United States and Canada, in that the French law allows similarly-situated persons to obtain relief in a single legal proceeding (la réparation des préjudices individuels subis par des consommateurs placés dans une situation similaire ou identique et ayant pour cause commune), l'action de groupe has some distinct characteristics posing special challenges for businesses operating in or exporting to France. At the same time, the French legislation attempts to prevent some of the worst excesses of the American system.

Please join us for a panel discussion to learn how international business and legal practitioners might prepare themselves for this new feature of French jurisprudence, based on lessons learned from class action litigation in the United States and Canada. The discussion will address similarities and differences between the countries' laws, identify areas of legal uncertainty and risk, and identify potential defense strategies, including those which may benefit from expert economic analysis or testimony.

Our speakers will include:

Peter Henein, Cassells Brock (Toronto). Mr. Henein has successfully defended major Canadian and multinational enterprises against class action litigation filed in the Canadian courts. He has special expertise in responding to class action product defect claims asserted against automobile manufacturers, and he is the Chair of the International Special Law Group of the Defense Research Institute's Product Liability Committee. Mr. Henein also lectures on civil procedure at Toronto's Osgood Hall Law School.

Stephen Newman, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Los Angeles). Mr. Newman litigates major class action cases throughout the United States, successfully defeating class certification or obtaining summary judgment on multiple occasions. He also has developed unique settlement structures to resolve class action risk, and successfully defended those structures against legal challenge. In June 2009 he was recognized at the Library of Congress by the William C. Burton Foundation for excellence in Plain English legal writing.

L. Adel Turki, Ph. D., Cornerstone Research (Washington, DC). Dr. Turki is a Senior Vice President at Cornerstone Research, a national economic and financial consulting firm. He leads the firm's finance practice. Dr. Turki has consulted on nearly all aspects of litigation. He has conducted statistical and economic analysis and analyzed damages for a variety of matters, including antitrust and consumer class actions. Dr. Turki was previously on the faculty of Purdue University and Stanford University.

Moderator - Julia B. Strickland, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Los Angeles). Ms. Strickland is an expert on United States class action law, having practiced throughout the country in both state and federal courts. Among other things, she co-chairs the Practising Law Institute's annual consumer financial services seminar in New York and Chicago, and advises major domestic and international corporations on how to manage class action risk in the United States. For the past nine years, Ms. Strickland has been recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of California's "Top Women Litigators."