Attorneys

Katherine L. Benson

Katherine Lubin Benson is a partner in our San Francisco office specializing in securities and derivative suits and antitrust class actions.

Katherine’s successful cases include a shareholder derivative action against Wells Fargo’s current and former officers and directors arising from the illicit sales practices scandal. Katherine was a key member of Lieff Cabraser team representing Co-Lead Plaintiff Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado in the action, which settled for a $240 million cash payment and corporate governance reforms in late 2018. The settlement received final approval in April 2020, and represents the largest insurer-funded derivative settlement in history.

Katherine is also an experienced antitrust litigator. Her recent antitrust successes include representing a class of hospitals, third-party payors, and uninsured persons in 29 states and the District of Columbia in an antitrust action against defendants Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sandoz Inc. for their alleged monopolization of enoxaparin, the generic version of the anti-coagulant blood clotting drug Lovenox. Katherine had primary responsibility for the litigation on a day to day basis for the firm as Class Counsel, and oversaw all aspects of case management including pleadings, discovery, class certification, summary judgment, expert work, and pre-trial preparation. The case settled in late 2019, shortly before trial, and received final approval in May 2020. The settlement, totaling $120 million, is the second largest indirect purchaser antitrust pharmaceutical settlement fund in history.

Prior to joining Lieff Cabraser, Katherine worked as an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in San Francisco, focusing on securities litigation and SEC enforcement actions.

Katherine received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Berkeley Law) in 2008, where she was a member of the Berkeley Law Mock Trial Team and won first place for the San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Mock Trial Competition. During law school, she worked as a judicial external for the Honorable Dean D. Pregerson of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Katherine is on the Board of Directors of the Northern District Practice Program, which provides continuing legal education programing for judges and practitioners in the district. She is also on the Board of Directors of the East Bay Community Law Center, a non-profit affiliated with Berkeley Law providing free legal services to low-income communities. Between 2012 and 2017, she coached a Berkeley Law mock trial team competing in the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Trial Advocacy Competition.

Donald C. Arbitblit

A Lawyer with Unmatched Expertise in Medical and Scientific Cases

Donald C. Arbitblit is a leader among plaintiffs’ attorneys in assessing the legal, medical, and scientific aspects of personal injury, mass torts, and environmental and toxic exposure litigation. Don has served on Plaintiffs’ Science/Expert Committees in several national cases and served on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Actos bladder cancer injuries federal multidistrict litigation that settled in 2015 for $2.4 billion.

Don was a member of the trial team that won the first Actos bellwether trial in April 2014, including a $9 billion punitive damage award. Don was also Chair of the Epidemiology/Causation Subcommittee of the federal Vioxx litigation from 2005-2010, and he was a member of the trial team that won a plaintiffs’ verdict in that litigation in 2006. Between 1998 and 2014, Don has served on science and expert witness committees in the Actos, Yaz, Fen-Phen Diet Drug, Rezulin, Baycol, Vioxx, and Sulzer hip implant cases.

Don has specialized in toxic exposure and defective pharmaceutical cases for twenty-six years. From 1994 to 1998, Don was lead counsel for a certified class of women who were intentionally exposed to radioactive iron without their consent while receiving prenatal care at Vanderbilt University hospital in the 1940s. Settlement included $10.3 million and a formal apology from Vanderbilt University.

Don also played a leading role in California coordinated litigation arising out of the Sacramento River Spill of 1991; the release of a sulfuric acid cloud from the General Chemical plant in Richmond, California in 1993; and a 1995 toxic release from the Unocal refinery in Rodeo, California. These cases resulted in settlements of approximately $300 million.

Don has authored articles on environmental and pharmaceutical drug issues for Ecology Law Quarterly, Mealey’s Emerging Toxic Torts, and Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. Super Lawyers magazine has recognized Don as a Super Lawyer for Northern California ten times. He has lectured to attorneys on science issues in pharmaceutical defect litigation for the American Association of Justice in 2011 (Yaz) and 2013 (Actos).

William Bernstein

A Leader In The Plaintiffs’ Bar

William Bernstein has practiced law for more than three decades. Who’s Who Legal called him, “a leader in the plaintiffs’ bar in the fields of complex civil litigation, antitrust, and consumer protection law.”

Notable cases Bill has litigated include price-fixing suits against pharmaceutical companies on behalf of retail pharmacies, consumer claims against the world’s largest vitamin manufacturers for crafting a global “vitamins cartel,” charges against natural gas and energy companies for manipulating the price of natural gas and electricity in California during the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, and qui tam claims against the Sutter hospital system for anesthesia service overcharges. These cases, in total, resulted in over $1.3 billion in settlements for consumers and businesses.

Bill also oversaw negotiations in the landmark settlement and injunction against De Beers for monopolizing the trade of rough diamonds in the U.S. for nearly 60 years. As featured in the 2008 Plaintiffs Hot List, The National Law Journal wrote,

The plaintiffs’ firms’ pluck, and some luck, resulted in a $295 million settlement for De Beers’ customers [and] secured De Beers’ pledge to abide by federal and state antitrust laws and accept court oversight to ensure compliance.

Bill teaches settlement law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. Bill has been repeatedly recognized as a “Super Lawyer for Northern California” by Super Lawyers magazine.