Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog

Carnival Cruise Execs Knew Early About Coronavirus Problem But Chose to “Keep Party Going”


As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, more than 1,500 passengers on Carnival’s cruise ship lines have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic, and at least several dozen have died from the illness. Information has emerged revealing that Carnival cruise ship execs knew earlier than most just how bad the coronavirus problem was aboard their fleet, but chose to “keep the party going for as long as possible.” [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser Announces That Plaintiffs Substantially Defeat Motion to Dismiss California Bail Bonds Antitrust Litigation

Lawsuit Brought by Lieff Cabraser and Public Interest Groups Contends Insurance Companies Conspired to Inflate Bail Bond Premiums

First-of-its-kind class action antitrust case brought by Lieff Cabraser and Justice Catalyst Law, Public Counsel, the National Consumer Law Center, and Towards Justice alleging that insurance companies in California conspired to unlawfully inflate California bail bond premiums will move forward to discovery and trial

On April 13, 2020, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an Order rejecting an argument by 28 members of the California bail bonds industry that they are immune from liability under state and federal law for an alleged antitrust conspiracy to fix the price of bail bond premiums. The lawsuit, brought by Shonetta Crain and Kira Serna on behalf of a proposed class of California bail bond purchasers, alleges that arrested people and their family members paid inflated prices for bail bonds due to an illegal conspiracy by sureties, California bail agencies, bail industry associations, and two individual defendants “to keep default premium rates fixed at 10%, advertise them as legal minimums, and prevent discounting or rebating as much as possible” to effectively fix the price of bail bonds in California. [Read more…]

Lieff Cabraser and Co-Counsel File Federal Class Action Lawsuit Against Baby Brezza Enterprises on Behalf of Parents of Infants Injured by Defective Formula Maker Liquid Baby Formula Machines

Infant Formula

“Baby Brezza Formula Pro” and “Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced,” touted as employing “patented mixing technology [that] automatically mixes formula and water to perfect consistency,” produce overly watery formula lacking sufficient nutrients to allow infants to thrive

April 10, 2020, New Jersey—Lieff Cabraser and Carella Byrne announce the filing of a class action lawsuit in the District of New Jersey against Baby Brezza Enterprises and The Betesh Group on behalf of Ashley Nahai and Michael Soter, California residents and the parents of an infant girl whose survival was threatened by a defective liquid baby formula mixing machine manufactured and sold by Baby Brezza and The Betesh Group. [Read more…]

Dean Harvey Speaks on the Challenges of Navigating No-Poach Agreements at 68th Annual ABA Antitrust Law Section Virtual Spring Meeting

Dean Harvey Speaks on the Challenges of Navigating No-Poach Agreements at 68th Annual ABA Antitrust Law Section Virtual Spring Meeting

Lieff Cabraser partner Dean M. Harvey recently participated in panel discussion on “No-Poach: Assessing Risk in Uncertain Seas” as a part of the American Bar Association’s 68th Annual Antirust Law Section Virtual Spring Meeting. The panel was presented by the Cartel & Criminal Practice and Trial Practice Committees and will be turned into a podcast along with other presented materials available for viewing later this month. [Read more…]

Mary Alexander and Lieff Cabraser Announce Federal Class Action Injury Lawsuit Against Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines Over COVID-19 Outbreak on California to Hawaii Cruise


Lawsuit filed in Northern District of California alleges negligent and grossly negligent exposure of over 2,000 cruise ship passengers to novel Coronavirus

San Francisco–(BUSINESSWIRE)– Passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship have filed a class action injury lawsuit today in San Francisco Federal Court alleging they were exposed to the Coronavirus as a result of gross negligence by the companies that own and operate the ship. The law firms of Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C. and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP represent passengers of the Grand Princess cruise that departed San Francisco for Hawaii on February 21, 2020. The lawsuit is against Carnival, Princess Cruise Lines, and Fairline Shipping International Ltd. (the vessel’s owner). [Read more…]

$320M Wells Fargo Derivative Suit Settlement Granted Final Approval

Securities Fraud

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Northern District of California has issued an order granting final approval to a $320 million settlement that will end shareholders’ derivative litigation relating to Wells Fargo’s unfair sales practices and its widespread fake accounts scandal. Plaintiffs in the suit, including the Fire & Police Pension Association of Colorado and the City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System, allege that since at least 2011, the Board and executive management of Wells Fargo knew or consciously disregarded that its employees were illicitly creating millions of costly deposit and credit card accounts for their customers, without those customers’ consent, in order to meet the banks’ aggressive sales goals. [Read more…]

Civil Litigation and Other Alternatives to Criminal Prosecution Can Achieve the Kind of Institutional Reforms Victims Care About

Abuse Victims

By Lieff Cabraser Attorney Avery Halfon

The cultural impact of Harvey Weinstein’s criminal conviction for felony sex crimes may be broader than any other in years. As the revelations of his abuse were the spark that ignited the #MeToo movement, his guilty verdict symbolizes a formal recognition how much sexual misconduct matters, how it happens, and the harm it causes. It may spur more potential individual and institutional offenders to “get it” and behave differently—not only because it may signal a more concrete risk of consequences, but because it may help those potential offender internalize why they should change their individual conduct or institutional culture to prevent sexual misconduct in the first place. As I wrote recently, both research and anecdotal evidence shows that such understanding and prevention is exactly what victims value most. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser in Trial Magazine on Meaningful Settlements that Bring Justice for Clients and Society

EJC In Trial Magazine April 2020

The American Association for Justice’s April 2020 issue of Trial magazine “Finding Your Way” includes a new article featuring commentary from Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser, wherein she discusses meaningful settlements she’s  been involved in and gives advice to lawyers on negotiating terms in settlements that bring justice for both clients and society. The piece also includes material from David Sugerman and Paul Bland, other plaintiff’s attorneys who, like Cabraser, focus much of their efforts on protecting the rights of consumers. [Read more…]

Compliance Officer Receives $450K SEC Whistleblower Award

Second Biggest Whistleblower Payout in History Reaches $22 Million

As reported by (subscription), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given a $450,000 whistleblower award to a worker who had compliance-related job functions at an undisclosed company. This is the third time in eight years that an award has gone to an individual with compliance or internal audit duties at a company found to be engaged in fraud. [Read more…]

Zantac Ordered Off Store Shelves Over Cancer Risks

Blurred pink pills

FDA mandates halt to distribution of ranitidine (Zantac) due to potentially carcinogenic contamination

After previously warning consumers and doctors last September that it had found measurable amounts of the carcinogen NDMA (N-notrisodimethylamine) in samples of the widely-used heartburn medication Zantac, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now ordered manufacturers to immediately stop distributing all versions of the drug over new concerns that small amounts of the poison can increase in the drug when it is stored above room temperature. [Read more…]

Elizabeth Cabraser Talks To About How Plaintiffs’ Firms Are Functioning During COVID-19

Elizabeth Cabraser Talks To About How Plaintiffs’ Firms Are Functioning During COVID-19 has published a profile on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the way premier plaintiff law firms are conducting business in this week’s Critical Mass briefing for class action and mass tort attorneys. The profile features interviews with several prominent plaintiffs’ lawyers on working through isolation. The publication notes that while so-called “Big Law” defense firms have scrambled, struggling to effectuate remote work, many plaintiffs’ firms, particularly those which had previously embraced cutting-edge technological innovations, have transitioned to a fully remote working status almost seamlessly. [Read more…]

Banking Industry Files Amicus Brief On Behalf of AT&T And Comcast Challenging California Rule Blocking Arbitration

AT&T Allegedly Using Forced Arbitration to Overcharge Customers

As reported by Law360 (subscription), on March 27, 2020, two major banking associations filed an amicus brief on behalf of Comcast Corp. and AT&T Mobility LLC’s in the United States Supreme Court supporting efforts by the companies to challenge a California rule that limits corporations’ abilities to enforce arbitration agreements. [Read more…]

Seven Lieff Cabraser Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers

Lawdragon legal magazine has published its annual listing of the 500 “Leading Lawyers in America,”  a list that includes Lieff Cabraser partners Elizabeth J. CabraserKelly M. DermodyEric B. Fastiff, Steven E. Fineman, Wendy R. Fleishman, Annika K. Martin, and Robert J. Nelson. Lawdragon also selected Lieff Cabraser founding partner Richard Heimann to be inducted into its 2020 Lawdragon 500 Hall of Fame. [Read more…]

California Supreme Court Denies Review of Plaintiff’s Appellate Victory in Laguna Seca Raceway Gross Negligence Case

California Supreme Court Denies Review of Plaintiff’s Appellate Victory in Laguna Seca Raceway Gross Negligence Case

Court of Appeal’s reversal of trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of two defendants in Kim v. County of Monterey will serve as new benchmark for courts wrestling with the distinction between ordinary and gross negligence

­­­The California Supreme Court has denied a petition for review of the Court of Appeal’s published opinion reversing the trial court’s ruling in favor of two defendants in Kim v. County of Monterey (Sixth District Court of Appeal, no. H045577; Monterey Superior Court, no. 16-cv-1236). Lieff Cabraser’s client suffered serious injuries when he collided with sandbags placed immediately adjacent to the pavement of the world-renowned Laguna Seca racetrack at an amateur motorcycle event. Reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeal concluded that where, as here, there are disputed questions of fact about whether the defendants (a) increased the inherent risk of an activity and (b) breached their duty by severely departing from an industry standard, those questions must be resolved by a jury, not a court on summary judgment. The opinion provides additional clarity on what the court described as the “not well developed” question of “where to draw the line between ordinary and gross negligence as a legal matter.” [Read more…]

Federal Judge in New Mexico Denies Motion to Dismiss Twitter Child Privacy Violations Lawsuits

Twitter Child Privacy

As reported by Law360, U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez has issued an order denying an attempt by Twitter and children’s app developer Tiny Lab, along with multiple advertising company partners, to dismiss claims that the companies secretly collected kid’s location data and personal information in violation of child privacy laws. [Read more…]

11th Circuit Upholds $41 Million Individual Verdict Against RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris in Florida Tobacco Lawsuit

Cigarette in ash tray

A federal appeals court has upheld a trial verdict of $41.1 million won by Lieff Cabraser against Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for their decades-long conspiracy to conceal the hazards of smoking and the lethally addictive nature of cigarettes. The jury award consists of $15.8 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amounts of $15.7 million against Philip Morris and $9.6 million against RJ Reynolds. [Read more…]

PG&E Will Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Over Deaths in 2018 Camp Fire

Northern California wildfire victims, including those who suffered injury and losses as a result of the 2017 North Bay and 2018 Camp fires, have only until October 21, 2019 to file proof of claims against PG&E.

Second set of criminal convictions in just five years places PG&E among the most criminally-convicted companies in US history

As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Gas and Electricity Co. (PG&E) has agreed to plead guilty to 85 felony counts for its role in the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record. The felonies include 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire resulting from a downed PG&E power line. The Camp Fire in Butte County destroyed as many as 19,000 structures and almost completely leveled the town of Paradise. [Read more…]

Annika K. Martin Talks to Agenda About the Impact of #MeToo on Corporate Culture

Thousands of Female Microsoft Employees Appeal Judge’s Decision to Deny Class Certification in Microsoft Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin spoke recently with web based business resource platform Agenda about the rise of the #MeToo movement in corporate culture and how #MeToo has driven corporations to change how they handle misconduct. Rather than buying off accusers, as was once common, those in charge are instead imposing strong ethical standards and policy changes to ensure their companies don’t foster environments that enable misconduct. [Read more…]