David S. Stellings
Partner, New York Office
212 355-9500

“A great litigator is a student of human nature: he opens his mind to different points of view—opposing counsel, judge, jury—and identifies the arguments that will get the best results for his clients.”
David S. Stellings
David S. Stellings

David Stellings represents consumers and small businesses from around the world in complex litigation in federal and state courts. For the last twenty-five years, Mr. Stellings has focused on product liability, consumer fraud, financial fraud, and breach of contract cases. His clients and class members have received more than $12 billion as a result of his advocacy. A few of Mr. Stellings’ recent successes are described below.

Mr. Stellings is part of the leadership team in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” multidistrict litigation, in which plaintiffs allege that Volkswagen intentionally and systematically cheated its customers, lied to the government, and misled the public about the emissions of its diesel engine vehicles sold under the Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche brands. The Court granted final approval to a settlement relating to 2.0-Liter engines worth approximately $10 billion and to a 3.0-Liter engine settlement with an estimated value between $1.2 and $4 billion. The Court also approved a separate $327.5 million settlement with Bosch for designing the “defeat device” software in the affected VW vehicle engines.

Mr. Stellings is a member of the leadership team in the Takata exploding airbag nationwide class action. Plaintiffs in that case allege that more than 40 million class members were damaged when airbag manufacturer Takata and several major automobile manufacturers knowingly exposed them to the risk of being killed or injured by shrapnel from exploding airbags. Certain auto-maker defendants in the case have settled for a total of more than $1.5 billion, and the litigation continues against the remaining defendants.

Mr. Stellings also is on the leadership team in a case against various automakers who allegedly cheated fuel economy tests for certain gasoline-powered vehicles, and as a result, represented to regulators and consumers that the vehicles could obtain better fuel economy than they actually could. The litigation and intensive settlement negotiations resulted in a non-reversionary $96.5 million settlement that provides class members “full compensation”—i.e., 100¢ on the dollar—for their alleged losses.

Mr. Stellings is on the leadership team in the Fiat Chrysler “EcoDiesel” multidistrict litigation, in which plaintiffs allege that Fiat Chrysler and Bosch designed and installed cheating emissions software in more than 100,000 vehicles. The Court granted final approval to a settlement that requires Fiat Chrysler to fix the vehicles and provides class members $307.5 million in cash plus a valuable extended warranty.

Mr. Stellings is part of the leadership team in the multidistrict Checking Account Overdraft litigation. The lawsuits charge that banks changed the order of debit card transactions for the purpose of maximizing the number of times they could assess their customers’ overdraft fees. To date, the Court has approved more than $1 billion in settlements.

Mr. Stellings is Court-appointed co-lead counsel in a large multidistrict litigation pending in federal court in Los Angeles. Plaintiffs in the case allege certain auto part makers and automobile manufacturers – including ZF-TRW, Hyundai-Kia, Toyota, Honda, and Fiat Chrysler – caused consumers to buy and overpay for millions of cars that have defective airbag and seat belt systems. These defective safety systems have led to a number of deaths and serious injuries. The litigation is ongoing.

Long form bio (click to open pdf).

  • New York University School of Law, New York, New York
    J.D. – 1993
    Law Journal: Journal of International Law and Politics, Editor
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    B.A. (Cum Laude) – 1990
  • New York, Appellate Division, 1st Department, 1994
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 2004
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. Court Of Appeals, 4th Circuit, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 2017
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 2007
  • Michigan Eastern District Court, 2015
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1996
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, 2022
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the City of New York
  • New York State Bar Association
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2023
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2021-2023
  • “Super Lawyer for New York Metro,” Super Lawyers, 2012-2022
  • “Consumer Attorney of the Year Finalist,” Consumer Attorneys of California, 2017
  • “Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist,” Public Justice, 2012
  • “Lawdragon Finalist,” Lawdragon, 2009
  • Speaker, “Trends in Class Action Litigation,” Trial Lawyers of Mass Torts Inaugural Conference, December 2022
  • Speaker, “MDL—Who Wants One? Plaintiff, Defense and Judicial Perspectives on MDL Pros and Cons,” University of Miami School of Law 2020 Class Action & Complex Litigation Forum, January, 2020