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.

Mr. Stellings is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. For the last 25+ 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 $17.5 billion as a result of his advocacy. Several of Mr. Stellings’ recent cases are described below.

Mr. Stellings is Court-appointed co-lead counsel in a large multidistrict class action litigation pending in federal court in Los Angeles. Plaintiffs allege certain auto part makers and automobile manufacturers – including ZF-TRW, Hyundai-Kia, Mitsubishi, 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. In 2023 Plaintiffs and Toyota entered into a settlement valued at more than $148 million. The litigation against the other defendants continues.

Mr. Stellings is Court-appointed co-lead counsel in another defective-airbag-related multidistrict class action litigation pending in federal court in Atlanta. Plaintiffs allege airbag manufacturer ARC, along with several other part suppliers and automakers, manufactured and sold more than 50 million vehicles with defective airbags that sometimes explode in a crash, and send razor-sharp pieces of steel shrapnel into the faces, necks and bodies of drivers and passengers.

Mr. Stellings is co-lead counsel in a class action in federal court in Miami against truck manufacturer Hino. Plaintiffs allege Hino engaged in various types of emission cheating, and that as a result Hino purchasers paid too much for their trucks. The parties agreed to settle the case for $237.5 million plus valuable extended and additional warranties. The settlement is subject to Court approval.

Mr. Stellings is co-lead counsel in a case in federal court in Northern California against General Motors, in which plaintiffs allege the airbags in millions of GM trucks are calibrated improperly to fail to deploy in certain types of moderate and severe crashes, which can lead to serious injuries and/or death.

Mr. Stellings is a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in a multidistrict litigation pending in federal court in Pittsburgh against Philips Respironics and its parent companies. Plaintiffs allege defendants manufactured and sold more than 10 million defective CPAP machines, which caused economic damage and physical injuries to the people who bought and used the machines.

Mr. Stellings is part of the leadership team in the historic Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” multidistrict litigation, in which plaintiffs alleged 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 approved a settlement relating to 2.0-Liter engines worth approximately $10 billion in cash, as well as 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. Class members in these cases recovered 100% of their alleged economic damages.

Mr. Stellings is a member of the leadership team in the Takata exploding airbag multidistrict litigation. 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 automaker 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 was 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 obtained better fuel economy than they actually did. 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 led a similar class action against Porsche for fuel economy cheating. The case settled for more than $80 million, close to 100% of the economic damages class members experienced.

Mr. Stellings was part of the leadership team in the Fiat Chrysler “EcoDiesel” multidistrict litigation, in which plaintiffs alleged that Fiat Chrysler and Bosch designed and installed cheating emissions software in more than 100,000 vehicles. The Court approved a settlement that required Fiat Chrysler to fix the vehicles, and provided class members $307.5 million in cash plus a valuable extended warranty.

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 Financial Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2021-2024
  • “Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America,” Lawdragon, 2023, 2024
  • “Super Lawyer for New York Metro,” Super Lawyers, 2012-2024
  • “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, Trial Lawyers of Mass Torts conference, December 2023
  • Speaker, ABA National Class Action Institute, 2023
  • Speaker, Miami Law Class Action & Complex Litigation Forum, 2023
  • 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