Guenther Karl Fanter

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7918
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Karl Fanter serves as BakerHostetler’s Financial Services Industry team leader. He 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. He serves as co-chair of BakerHostetler's Pro Bono Committee.

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.

  • Defended companies -- including a telecommunications company, a teleservices company and a nonprofit organization -- in class actions alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Acritas Star (2016)

Memberships

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

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

Blog

In The Blogs

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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Eleventh Circuit Stands Firm – No Incentive Awards for Class Representatives
By Kamran B. Ahmadian
August 12, 2022
Nearly two years after it issued its initial decision in Johnson v. NPAS Sols., LLC, in which it held incentive awards for class representatives to be per se unlawful, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied a...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Florida Requires Concrete Injury For Standing - Class Action Defense
By Joel Griswold
July 14, 2022
On July 13, 2022, the Florida District Court of Appeal for the Fourth District affirmed an order dismissing a putative class action filed under the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) for lack of standing. Southam v...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
The Demand Curve Problem for UCL Class Actions
By Brian A. Troyer
June 1, 2022
A recent opinion from a California federal court, Mier v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. et al., No. 8:20-cv-01979-DOC-ADS, slip op. (C.D. Cal. May 9, 2022),touches on an aspect of econometric modeling that class action defense counsel should...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
BakerHostetler Releases Insurance Class Action Update
By Mark A. Johnson
May 19, 2022
The Class Action Defense team released its Insurance Quarterly Report covering the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. Included in the report are updates and analyses about property and casualty class action lawsuits...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Regarding Whether State Business Registration Requirements Can Create General Personal Jurisdiction
By Ali I. Haque
May 3, 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a state from requiring a corporation to consent to personal jurisdiction as a condition to doing business in the state...
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