Guenther Karl Fanter

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7918
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Karl Fanter concentrates on complex commercial litigation, emphasizing class action defense and appeals, and crafting creative-yet-practical solutions for his clients' most important cases. Karl also presents regularly on class action, ethics, and appellate issues, as well as other litigation topics.

Select Experience

  • Represented a senior government official in Iqbal v. Ashcroft, which involved challenges to detention policies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The matter was litigated to the United States Supreme Court and resulted in a favorable defense ruling on pleading standards required to bring actions in federal court.

  • After seeing its market share decline over time, a nonprofit hospital in Northeast Ohio learned that a larger rival – which happened to be the biggest employer in the county – had converted hundreds of local employers to its captive insurance subsidiary by making secret payments to the independent insurance brokers that represented those employers. Karl was a member of the team that crafted a claim under Ohio's version of RICO based on a criminal statute outlawing improper payments to service providers of employee benefit plans. After a nine-week trial, the team won an unprecedented jury verdict under this theory. The case was argued on appeal, which resulted in the judgment being affirmed.

  • Defeated multiple class action lawsuits that challenged a bank's calculation of its variable interest rate loans. The plaintiffs sought to certify national and then state classes of commercial customers who received payment invoices that projected loan payments for a period during which the interest rate was unknown. The plaintiffs asserted claims under Ohio common law for breach of contract and breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.

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Experience

  • Represented a senior government official in Iqbal v. Ashcroft, which involved challenges to detention policies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The matter was litigated to the United States Supreme Court and resulted in a favorable defense ruling on pleading standards required to bring actions in federal court.

  • After seeing its market share decline over time, a nonprofit hospital in Northeast Ohio learned that a larger rival – which happened to be the biggest employer in the county – had converted hundreds of local employers to its captive insurance subsidiary by making secret payments to the independent insurance brokers that represented those employers. Karl was a member of the team that crafted a claim under Ohio's version of RICO based on a criminal statute outlawing improper payments to service providers of employee benefit plans. After a nine-week trial, the team won an unprecedented jury verdict under this theory. The case was argued on appeal, which resulted in the judgment being affirmed.

  • Defeated multiple class action lawsuits that challenged a bank's calculation of its variable interest rate loans. The plaintiffs sought to certify national and then state classes of commercial customers who received payment invoices that projected loan payments for a period during which the interest rate was unknown. The plaintiffs asserted claims under Ohio common law for breach of contract and breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.

  • Defeated a commercial class action involving alleged state tax payments on behalf of defendant petroleum jobber.

  • Successfully resolved nationwide class action lawsuits on behalf of defendant teleservices company.

  • Member of the team that successfully defeated a class action and related claims in connection with a train derailment involving the release of ethanol, propane and other chemicals.

  • Member of the team representing a federally insured bank in a matter involving a novel banking product being offered to consumers. Representing the bank in five parallel putative nationwide class action lawsuits initially filed in federal courts, now consolidated into a single action. The action challenges the product, compares the bank to a payday lender and seeks to shut down the bank's most profitable consumer line of business. The lawsuit is the first of its kind and raises complicated issues of first impression in a highly regulated area of law overseen by a number of agencies.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Acritas Star (2016)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

Publications

Alerts

Articles

Prior Positions

  • Cleveland Office Hiring Committee
  • Cleveland Office Pro Bono Coordinator

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2004
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2003
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 2002, Member, Harvard International Law Journal
  • B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1999