Ernest Vargo has considerable experience defending domestic and foreign firms against claims of international price fixing, bid rigging, customer allocation, output restrictions and other cartel activities. His antitrust cartel experience extends to several industries, including steel, vitamins, liquid crystal display panel, hair care and cosmetics, print and broadcast advertising, insurance and other financial services and scrap metal. Mr. Vargo has defended some of the largest companies, as well as mid-size firms, within these industries and has developed and implemented effective, cogent strategies of defense specifically suited to respective defendants.
Mr. Vargo chaired the firm’s National Consumer Class Action Defense Team from its inception in 1998 until 2013. He has specific experience in defending class actions against financial services companies regarding rate and discount practices, claims adjustment practices, commission structures, premium tax charges, refund of unearned premium, collateral protection programs, payments to third-party providers, agent relations and vanishing premium programs.
Mr. Vargo has defended auto insurance companies in class actions challenging various aspects of the claims-handling process, including the use of non-original equipment parts in preparing estimates, the taking of betterment deductions, the exclusion of claims for alleged diminished value, the payment of interest on settlement amounts, the use of estimating software in determining actual cash value, the obtaining of salvage titles in total loss situations and the determination of prevailing auto body repair rates in the claim settlement process. He has also defended class actions based on multiple commission programs instituted by insurers in the sale and marketing of policies.
In addition, Mr. Vargo has defended title insurers in class actions challenging discount and other premium programs, as well as the collection of premium taxes from policyholders. His experience includes many facets of the residential mortgage lending industry, including federal lending requirements and title insurance issues.
Mr. Vargo brings a practical, focused and results-oriented approach to the class action arena. He has defended high-profile, high-exposure class actions of critical importance to the insurance and other financial services industries and is in high demand as a source of considered judgment for major clients. He has successfully argued class action rulings before the Ohio Supreme Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the North Dakota Supreme Court. Mr. Vargo has testified before a legislative committee of the New Mexico Legislature regarding collateral protection insurance issued to the lending industry. He has also given speeches to the financial services industry and other professional organizations on a variety of confronting issues.
Mr. Vargo is a member of the American, Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations, and is a former member of the Class Action Section and a current member of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association.
Since 2008, Mr. Vargo has served on the Board of Trustees of Youth Challenge, a non-profit organization that brings together children with physical disabilities and youth volunteers through participation in adapted sports and recreational activities. In January 2013, Youth Challenge appointed Mr. Vargo to serve as President of the Board of Trustees, a role he currently performs.
5/24/2013 - Chambers and Partners Recognizes 84 BakerHostetler Lawyers: Named a Leading Firm in 20 Practice Areas
12/19/2012 - U.S. Supreme Court Considers Arbitration Clauses and Class Actions Next Year
9/17/2012 - “Best Lawyers in America” Recognizes 127 BakerHostetler Attorneys: Eleven Named “Lawyer of the Year”