Businesses may be used to private class actions by now, but when the plaintiffs bar joins forces with a state attorney general, the resulting lawsuit can pose a new and dangerous threat to defendants. But companies have good legal options as they respond.

A familiar specter has haunted the business community for decades: lawyers who craft a class action, find a plaintiff in whose name it can be filed, and then use the suit to impose discomfort upon the defendant. Most such actions are defeated sooner or later. Many others are settled for a fee award and some benefit for the proposed class. But a few of these cases result in large judgments, and most impose large economic, reputational and business disruption costs along the way.

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