Benchmark Litigation, a publication of the UK-based Legal Media Group, has published its 2016 profile of U.S. law firms. Although the publication focuses primarily on defense firms, plaintiffs firm Lieff Cabraser received the highest ranking for law firms with California offices and the second highest ranking for law firms with New York offices.
The profile for Lieff Cabraser includes the note that the firm has “some of the hardest working and ethical plaintiffs – and lawyers overall – in the business.”
In addition, Benchmark Litigation 2016 gives California “State Litigation Star” awards to Elizabeth Cabraser, Richard Heimann, Kelly Dermody, Robert Nelson, Joy Kruse, and Lexi Hazam, and New York “State Litigation Star” awards to Steven Fineman, Jonathan Selbin, and Wendy Fleishman. Ms. Cabraser and Ms. Dermody were recognized as “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” and Ms. Cabraser was also listed as a “Top Trial Lawyer.”
For the firm’s California listing, Benchmark Litigation wrote:
Firm co-founder and name partner Elizabeth Cabraser is known nationwide for having handled some of the largest class actions in U.S. history. The head of the firm’s personal injury, mass torts, and environmental group, she is among the supervisory counsel for plaintiffs’ who suffered damages in connection with the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To date, Ms. Cabraser’s efforts have assisted in yielding $2 billion in payments. Ms. Cabraser is also lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the class actions against Toyota and General Motors.
Firm co-founder and name partner Richard Heimann serves as local counsel for lead plaintiff Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi and the class of investors it represents in a complaint charging that Diamond Foods and certain senior executives of the company with knowingly understating the cost of walnuts Diamond Foods purchased, in order to inflate the price of Diamond Foods’ common stock. In January 2014, the court granted final approval of a settlement of the action requiring Diamond Foods to pay $11 million in cash and issue $4.45 million common shares worth $116.3 million on the date of final approval based on the stock’s closing price on that date.
Mr. Heimann also, along with managing partner Ms. Dermody, served as counsels in a consolidated class action charging that Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the pay of technical, creative, and other salaried employees. In May 2015, the Court approved partial settlements totaling $20 million resolving claims against Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. In September 2015, the Court approved a $415 million settlement with Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe. [Together, these settlements in this landmark litigation constitute the largest resolution in history of antitrust claims in the employment setting, on either an aggregate or per-class-member basis.]
In the New York listing for Lieff Cabraser, Benchmark noted,
Steven Fineman is working in tandem with Mr. Heimann as counsel for Charles Schwab in three individual lawsuits against Bank of America Corporation, Credit Suisse Group AG, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and additional banks for allegedly manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). The complaints allege that beginning in 2007, the defendants conspired to understate their true costs of borrowing, causing the calculation of LIBOR to be set artificially low. As a result, Schwab received less than their rightful rates of return on their LIBOR-based investments. Mr. Fineman also serves on the court-appointed plaintiffs’ steering committee and with co-counsel represents fishermen, property owners, business owners, wage earners, and other harmed parties in class action litigation against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and other defendants involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blowout.
Peer praise is also strong for “product liability star” Jonathan Selbin, who specializes in consumer, defective product, appellate, and class action law.