Roger Heller has been selected by Law360 as a 2015 “Rising Star” in the field of consumer protection. The publication cited Heller’s “pivotal role” in securing a wealth of favorable results for plaintiffs challenging deceptive banking and consumer product practices, including a $203 million reinstated class action penalty against Wells Fargo Bank NA, earning him a place among Law360’s top three consumer protection attorneys under 40.
The 39-year-old Rising Star, who is based in the firm’s San Francisco office, immediately jumped into the representation of consumers in high-stakes class action disputes upon his arrival at Lieff Cabraser seven years ago, and has since racked up numerous settlements and verdicts that have helped to return millions of dollars to banking customers, credit card holders, and others who were allegedly harmed by a range of unfair and deceptive business practices.
“One of the benefits to working on the plaintiffs’ side is that you tend to get more responsibility early on than working at a defense firm,” Heller told Law360. “Lieff Cabraser has given me the resources and expressed the confidence in me to help me to continue to grow as a lawyer.”
One of Heller’s most significant litigation triumphs came in 2013, when he and his team convinced a California federal judge to reinstate an eye-popping $203 million judgment against Wells Fargo for its heavily criticized overdraft practices.
“Any time we’re bringing a false ad or misrepresentation case, we’re developing law that helps protect consumers going forward and that will hopefully convince companies to adjust their behavior in a way that will protect consumers generally,” he said.
Heller noted that he and his team are prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve the best possible results for consumers, whether that involves litigating the case through trials and appeals or negotiating a settlement that provides the class with appropriate relief. They have demonstrated a knack for obtaining high-figure settlements for consumers on multiple occasions during Heller’s tenure at the firm.
Most recently, Heller helped to obtain a $40 million settlement that was announced in January and is pending court approval in three related nationwide class actions accusing TracFone Wireless of falsely advertising that its cellphone plans provide unlimited data. Heller has also played an integral part in securing a settlement approved in February 2014 that will allow consumers who say they were duped by AT&T Mobility LLC and Apple Inc. over an iPad data plan to collect up to $60 apiece from the companies, as well as a $410 million settlement approved in 2011 that ended Bank of America NA’s involvement in multidistrict litigation accusing it and other banking giants of charging customers exorbitant overdraft fees and a $100 million deal penned in 2012 that resolved claims that JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chase Bank Unit was unfairly modifying the terms of fixed rate loans.
“One of the features I love about class action litigation is that it gives strength to individual consumers, some of whom might not go out to recoup their losses on an individual basis,” Heller said. “What I do allows consumers to potentially get together and take on big companies in a way that they wouldn’t be able to do without the class action device.”