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. He also presents regularly on class action, ethics, and appellate issues, as well as other litigation topics.

Karl 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
The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Regarding Whether State Business Registration Requirements Can Create General Personal Jurisdiction
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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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Concrete and Particularized Part II: What Spokeo May Mean for Class Actions
May 20, 2016
This blog post is the second in a series of posts that Baker & Hostetler LLP is devoting to the significant decision Robins v. Spokeo, No. 13-1339, 537 U.S. ___ (2016) (Spokeo). Monday’s post focused on Spokeo’s effect on privacy class...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Allege Concrete and Particularized Injury To Have Standing To Assert FCRA Claim
May 16, 2016
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., which addressed the question of whether a plaintiff has satisfied Article III’s injury-in-fact standing requirement by alleging a statutory violation but no concrete injury. Our...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
CFPB Announces Proposed Ban to Mandatory Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements
May 12, 2016
Our Financial Services Blog recently posted about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a proposed rule to prohibit covered institutions from including, in most core consumer contracts...
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Class Action Lawsuit Defense
The Eighth Circuit Weighs in on Ascertainability
May 9, 2016
Last week, the Eighth Circuit weighed in on a hot and unsettled topic: the ascertainability standard for class certification. In Sandusky Wellness Center, LLC v. Medtox Scientific, Inc., No. 15-1317, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 7992 (8th Cir. May...
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