The National Law Journal (subscription) has named its 2020 Litigation Trailblazers, a list that includes Lieff Cabraser partners Richard M. Heimann and Annika K. Martin. The award recognizes 35 lawyers who “have taken extra measures to contribute to positive outcomes, and who are truly agents of change.”
The Journal highlights Richard’s innovative work on one of the first actions against banks claiming that they manipulated the order in which debit cards were counted to increase the amount of overdraft charges. “We challenged that practice and ended up recovering more than $200 million for the class. The outgrowth was dozens of similar cases in federal court. More than $1 billion has been recovered for bank customers, but all sprang from our original case,” Richard noted.
The Journal focuses on Annika’s groundbreaking work in the sexual abuse litigation against disgraced gynecologist George Tyndall and the University of Southern California. Annika served as Co-Lead Class Counsel representing women sexually abused at USC by gynecologist George Tyndall over multiple decades. “Tyndall had been abusing students for 30 years under the guise of gynecological exams. There had been numerous complaints, and USC allowed him to stay. Since I went to USC, that hit close to home,” she said. Annika and the firm pursued a class action against Tyndall and USC. “One of the great things about working at a place like Lieff Cabraser is that you can think about how law can not only right wrongs but also create change, and class actions were really designed to help make big changes in society. This was the first sexual trauma class action.”
On behalf of Tyndall’s victims, Annika helped negotiate a $215 million settlement with USC and Dr. Tyndall; the settlement also requires USC to make sweeping institutional changes to ensure something like this never happens again on campus.
Congratulations to both Richard and Annika on this outstanding accomplishment!
About Richard Heimann
Richard Heimann supervises Lieff Cabraser’s securities and financial fraud practice. He began his legal career as a deputy public defender and later served as an assistant district attorney. From this foundation, Richard has become one of the nation’s foremost trial attorneys and skilled negotiators, with unparalleled experience in complex securities and investor fraud, antitrust and intellectual property, consumer protection, and personal injury and mass torts cases. In its inaugural review of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Law360 selected Richard as a “Trial Ace.” Just one of 50 attorneys recognized, Richard was the only trial ace practicing at a law firm that represents solely plaintiffs. A Lawdragon 500 “Leading Lawyer in America” for 2019 and a “Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer” for 2019, 2020, Richard was also named a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer in America” by Benchmark Litigation in 2017 and 2018.
Richard supervised the firm’s landmark litigation against the tobacco industry on behalf of Massachusetts, California, and several other states. The litigation was resolved in 1998 as part of a record $206 billion master settlement agreement with the state Attorneys General.
Richard has also successfully tried over 30 civil jury cases, highlighted by the FPI/Agretech and Edsaco securities class action trials, the Wells Fargo Bank overdraft fees consumer protection class action trial, and the LCDs antitrust class action.
About Annika K. Martin
A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s New York office, Annika K. Martin represents plaintiffs in class action and mass tort litigation concerning consumer fraud, environmental issues, and products liability. In April 2018, Annika was named Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs in the national consumer fraud class action MDL against General Motors Company on behalf of all persons who purchased or leased certain GM vehicles equipped with an allegedly defective air conditioning system.
Annika represented individuals, property owners, and business owners across the Gulf Coast in class action litigation against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and other companies responsible for the 2010 blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which resulted in the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Annika was deeply involved in negotiating, implementing, and gaining court approval for the economic and medical class action settlements with BP that are compensating hundreds of thousands of victims of the tragedy.
Annika has also represented plaintiffs with physical and economic injuries arising from GM vehicles with defective ignition switches, and patients nationwide suffering from the widespread outbreak of meningitis and other serious maladies caused by contaminated medication. Annika is the current co-chair of AAJ’s Class Action Litigation Group.